By Sharon Kwok.
A hiker posted on Weibo calling for help after being trapped with her friend in a restricted military zone at Xiaodong Bay in Sanya, Hainan. According to media reports, the two hikers ignored the restricted entry sign and pretended not to understand Chinese when questioned by rescuers about their unauthorised entry into the zone. They were slammed by netizens for showing no sign of repentance.
At noon, the hiker named @JennyMable was still sharing her pleasure in hiking on Weibo. Five hours later, after realising they were trapped, she started sending a series of Weibo posts for help. While waiting for rescue, she constantly complained about its slowness, “I have sung all the songs I know. I don’t want to give up hope, but why are they so slow?” Since neither the naval vessel nor the rescue boat could pull into shore, firefighters had to reach them on foot from the other side of the shore.
After the rescue, they were brought to the “restricted military zone” sign. @JennyMable, who had been posting on Weibo in Chinese the whole time, decided to play dumb. She said in English that she does not understand Chinese, and thanked the rescuers in Japanese. Later when asked if they had learnt their mistake, she replied, “there was only a sign with no one looking after that place. No one stopped us, so we went in. You should enforce its management.”
Their irresponsible behaviour caused outrage on Weibo. Many criticised them for wasting the country’s resources and damaging the overall reputation of hikers. Fortunately, after some reflection, @JennyMable finally learnt her lesson and made a public apology on Weibo, “I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the government, which provided us with all possible assistance. Last but not least, I sincerely apologise for all the inconvenience caused by my inappropriate Weibo posts.”