Beijing Might Ban 'Uncivilized' Tourists From Entering Its Parks
Travelers visiting Beijing should always remember that Big Brother is watching.
According to CNN, the Beijing Municipal Administration Center of Parks is considering creating a blacklist to ban "uncivilized visitors" using facial recognition software.
The proposal was triggered by a torrent of domestic tourists visiting for the three-day Tomb Sweeping Festival (or Qingming Festival) which has led to an uptick in unruly behavior. A report by Chinese state media says that tourists have been seen climbing trees, picking flowers and damaging plants, as well as fishing in park lakes. The blacklist would prohibit delinquent travelers from entering Beijing's parks.
China already has tourism laws in place that are meant to preserve order and social morality. In 2016, the China National Tourism Administration blacklisted 20 people. Last year, that number grew to more than 670. CNN reported that, "People on the list can be banned from some or all air and train travel for up to 12 months."
Offenses that can get you blacklisted include disrupting flights, smoking on trains, failing to pay court judgments and illegal securities trading.
Beijing's Temple of Heaven Park even restricts the amount of toilet paper you can take. In 2017, the park installed face scanners in its restrooms to prevent what officials called an "epidemic" of toilet paper theft. Anyone using the restrooms now needs to make eye contact with the automated toilet paper dispenser, which then emits a single portion of paper.
Human Rights Watch has warned that President Xi Jinping is trying to build a "digital totalitarian state" consisting of a "social credit system" that would severely restrict Chinese citizens' freedom.
While international visitors to China likely don't have much to worry about at this time, as Chinese travelers seem to be the focus of this severe blacklist, it's important to remember that the authorities are cracking down on bad behavior. And yes, somebody is watching.