A field of lotus flowers in full bloom is an incredible sight to behold. Unfortunately, tourists of the Longqiao Cultural and Ecological Park in Sichuan province’s Lu County have robbed others of that sight.
Hundreds have broken in to steal its lotus flowers before the park was set to reopen this month, the South China Morning Post reported. Around 200 to 300 continue to break in daily, leaving its vast fields empty.
At its peak, the flowers are said to cover an area stretching across 250,000 square meters. But because of what happened, the park has decided to remain closed for the rest of the year. Videos and photos circulated on Chinese social media show tourists caught in the act, carrying armfuls of the blossoms.
“We cannot control the tourists. We can just guarantee we’ve done our job well. We’ve put notes on the park gate and near the flower field and we have security personnel on patrol as well,” a member of the park’s staff told South China Morning Post. There was no point in reopening because, well, there was nothing left to see.
There seems to be no end to these types of stories of involving Chinese tourists. But what's behind all these incidents? Yong Chen, a tourism researcher and post-doctoral fellow at Hong Kong Polytechnic University said in a 2015 interview with SCMP that bad Chinese tourists don’t intend to be “bad” nor “tourists,” just themselves: Chinese. They've also been described as the “purest nouveau rich you’ll ever see,” to whom our reactions say as much about ourselves and our own insecurities. Which is to say, that the moral high road is always for us to take.
This article originally appeared on VICE ASIA.