Viral images of public defecation at theme park draw condemnation

By Shan Jie Source:Global Times Published: 2016/6/22 20:18:00

A sanitary worker collects garbage at the public square near the gate of Shanghai's Disney Resort. Photo: CFP

Shanghai's Disney Resort officially opened on June 16 after around a month of trial operations, becoming the first Disney destination in the Chinese mainland and the sixth worldwide.

However, shortly after it opened its doors to the public, photos of visitors to the theme park acting in uncivilized ways have gone viral online, with images of children defecating and urinating on the ground particularly drawing public criticism.

Experts have called for the country to better educate people about public health and appropriate behavior, but added that the improvement of quality of tourists is a long-term process.

'Not surprising'

The discussion on public pooping at Shanghai Disney started as shortly after its trial operating period began in early May.

"Shanghai Disney's very first public urination occurred on May 22!" claimed "iknow-021," a Shanghai-based WeChat public platform that reports on local affairs.

According to "iknow-021," a 5-year-old boy urinated on the floor, and the boy, together with his two peers, also climbed onto a fence with their mothers taking pictures instead of stopping them.

On the morning of May 31, a 5-year-old girl was pictured defecating into a flower bed near a Winnie the Pooh-themed attraction with her mother holding toilet paper beside, "iknow-021" reposted on May 31.

News website reported Sunday that a small boy defecated onto the grass in Shanghai Disney on Saturday, the first weekend after the park was officially opened.

The reports garnered netizens' attention and the hash tag "defecating and urinating on the ground at Disney" has received 4.3 million views in Sina Weibo, with the majority criticizing the phenomenon.

"The familiar thing happened again. This time it just changed location," wrote Chuansuo Zhizao, a Sina Weibo user.

"It is not surprising at all. Many people use the name of their children to do the things they want but dare not to do," Sina Weibo user "I am Zhang Yu" said.

Who to blame

Parents allowing their children to urinate and defecate in public has been a controversial issue in both Chinese and international media.

Photos of a little girl whose parents allowed her to urinate next to her seat on a domestic flight raised a stink on social media in May.

An October 2015 incident that involved the child of a Chinese tourist urinating outside a Burberry outlet in London was reported widely at home and abroad.

"Children of 2 or 3 cannot control themselves, so when we go outside we usually prepare a diaper or plastic bag for my child," Han Xinying, the mother of a 3-year-old, told the Global Times.

"However, some of the children in the reports were around 5, at which age the children already have self-awareness, let alone their parents," Han said.

"The toilets in Disney are clean and there are plenty of them, I didn't queue when I used them," a Shanghai resident, surnamed Gao, who visited Shanghai Disney on Friday, told the Global Times, suggesting that more signs showing where the toilets are might be needed.

"There are enough toilets at Disney, pretty clean and tidy. I think the quality of tourists is not something that the park can choose," Sebastian, another visitor to the Shanghai park, told the Global Times.

"Chinese parents usually judge a child by his studies, instead of moral behaviors, including how they behave in public areas," Hu Xingdou, a professor at the Beijing Institute of Technology and expert on China's social problems, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Uncouth minority

According to the, other uncivilized phenomena such as people throwing trash on the floor and jumping queues have also been spotted at Shanghai Disney.

"I didn't see children urinating on the floor, but I did see some people jumping queues," said EJ, a netizen and Disney fan from Shanghai who visited the park on Friday.

"It's a gradual process to improve the quality of tourists through both legal and moral methods," Liu Simin, vice president of the China Society for Future Studies' tourism research institute, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

"Meanwhile, even though the Shanghai Disney is a top theme park, it does not mean its tourists are all well-educated," Liu said.

Liu added that Shanghai Disney has already attracted a large number of tourists, of which some will of course be uncouth.

"China should improve its public health education, and increase penalties for such uncivilized behavior," Hu said.

"The improvements of the tourists' quality needs the concern of the media, education from school and family, as well as legislation," Liu noted.

However, Shanghai Disney can do nothing but simply try to notify tourists of what behavior is unacceptable as they cannot punish people directly, according to Hu.

Newspaper headline: Dirty at Disney

Posted in: Society

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