Chinese reality TV show apologizes for picking rare wild plants in Tibet

Source: Global Times Published: 2020/9/22 11:33:40

Photo: Beijing Television Sina Weibo account

The producers of a Chinese reality show apologized on Monday for a scene in which participants picked rare wild plants in the Tibet Autonomous Region, which drew widespread criticism from internet users after the show was aired on Sunday. 

"We sincerely accept all criticism from fans, netizens and sincerely apologize… A negative impact was caused after the broadcast of our show, as we failed to promote the protection of rare plants," read the announcement.

Produced by the Shanghai Dragon TV, the reality show "Go Fighting" has over 3.6 million followers on Sina Weibo. According to the introduction from the producers, the reality show combines elements of charity poverty alleviation and entertainers' experiences. 

After the latest episode aired, the decision to pick snow saussurea on the plateau at an altitude of 4,800 meters was questioned by netizens, with some pointing out that it was the saussurea medusa, a national second-class rare plant.

Although one of the entertainers involved, Liu Fengning, explained that the items picked on the show were only "props," botanists said otherwise.

In an interview with The Paper, associate professor from Capital Normal University Gu Lei pointed out that the video shows that the saussurea medusa was in a normal state of growth.

This kind of plant is found mainly on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau at an altitude of 4 or 5 kilometers. It takes years for the compositae to blossom and spread their seeds, said Gu, noting that because there are so few of them, even scientists rarely collect specimens.

Gu said that according to the video, some plants were flowering and some were bearing fruit when the entertainers picked them. 

According to Gu, several species of saussurea, including saussurea medusa, have been included in the latest draft of National Wildlife Conservation List, but the list is not yet in effect.

The scene has a very bad influence on the public, said Gu. 

"It is still improper even if the item they picked was really a prop. Is it moral to spread the idea that saussurea can be picked? Should the cast and crew go through training before shooting?" asked an internet user on Sina Weibo. 

"On the inaccessible plateau, more than 4,000 meters above sea level, any kind of life is worthy of awe and care," said another. 

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