By Ma Huaqing
A young couple was supposed to savour their honeymoon in scenic Huashan (Hua Mountain, 华山) during the Golden Week, and a reporter from Shaanxi TV Station was sent by his editors to film a report there, but all that Huashan could offer them were one nightmare after another.
On October 2, the second day of the week-long holidays, Mr Dong, 29, together with four family members, decided to ascend the mountain by cable car. According to him, they bought entrance tickets at the East Gate but when they reached the gate, they were told it was compulsory to buy shuttle bus tickets to be provided two-way transport from the ticket office to the cable car station, costing 40 RMB each. They were told that the shuttle bus operates 24 hours and were promised they would be picked up whenever they got off from the cable car.
There were too many people at the ticket office when they arrived. And when they heard they’d have to queue another 4 hours just to purchase the tickets, they decided to climb Huashan by foot instead.
They soon found themselves trapped among thousands and thousands of people going up- and downhill by foot. While those who were going uphill managed to crawl up approximately one step each minute, those going downhill formed two to three rows and still were unable to move even after a long time. To make matters worse, there were more and more people joining the crowd by the minute. His family decided that they would go downhill by cable car after reaching the peak.
When they finally reached the peak at about 6pm, they found someone who no longer wanted to queue up for the cable car ride, so they bought his cable car tickets at the original price of 150 RMB for two.
There was supposed to be a shuttle bus fetching the Dong family after they got off from the cable car at about 10pm, but due to the congested roads, the shuttle bus didn’t come. They walked to the ticket office downhill, only to find it smashed by angry tourists who had come before him.
Mr Dong’s brother-in-law complained to the ticket office and demanded a refund. In less than five minutes, more than 20 people set upon him and began beating him. His wife tried to stop the fight, but was also attacked. Mr Dong himself attempted to help, but soon he became the centre of the target of the gang fight. The melee ended with both Dong and his wife getting stabbed.
Mr and Mrs Dong were then sent to the Huayin City People’s Hospital for treatment. Mr Dong had 7 stitches while Mrs Dong suffered 2 cuts.
The Dong family was not the only victim. On the same day, a journalist surnamed Zhang from Shaanxi TV Station was also beaten up while filming a report about the crowds at the tourist attraction. His camera was also smashed.
Zhang said that it was only a few minutes since he started filming and someone asked what he was there for. He said that he was a reporter from Shaanxi TV Station, and soon found himself pushed around by a mob, shouting “Why are you filming all these!” They chased after him and grabbed his video camera. He was very sure that among these perpetrators, some were holding the loudspeakers used by the management staff in their hands.
On October 2 at about 9pm, Huashan management said that because some tourists had parked their cars at the entrance, their shuttle buses were blocked from picking up passengers at the designated spots. There were also a few fights between tourists and management staff at Wamiaogou.
On October 4, it issued a statement on Weibo claiming that there were discrepancies between tweets published by tourists and the actual facts. Their staff, they said, did not strike back even after tourists hit them. The Huashan management also denied the allegations that the attackers were members of its staff, emphasizing that the fight took place in the car park outside the East Gate, and it’s unclear who they really are. But the Huayin Police is investigating the matter and will pay for the victims’ medical bills.
On October 6, the Huayin City Public Security Bureau issued a statement on its website saying that two suspects, both peasants working as ticket scalpers from Huayin City, turned themselves in the previous day. According to the suspects, they were also there to demand a ticket refund, but they were irritated by the Dong family’s loud conversation and hence decided to teach them a lesson by force. Since their account does not tally with Mr Dong’s version, netizens are now suspecting that they are scapegoats.