Peking University, Tsinghua treated as hot spots for Chinese tourists, face vandalism, overcrowding, scalpers

July 21, 2011Jing GaoNo Comments, , , , , , , , ,

Since the beginning of this summer, Tsinghua University receives over 10,000 visitors daily, while Peking University opens its gate to 6,000 outsiders a day. The flood of tourists has brought unbearable pain to the two most prestigious institutions for higher learning in China as well as its students and staff.


Peking University’s Boya Pagoda and Weiming Lake


At one gate of Peking University

Peking University, established in 1898, is the oldest higher education institution in China. Located in the former site of Qing Dynasty royal gardens, it retains traditional Chinese-style landscaping and architectural style including houses, gardens, pagodas as well as many notable historical buildings and structures that surround a lake. Tsinghua University, formed in early 20th century, is home to a number of western-style buildings in addition to Chinese landscaping. It, as the only university in Asia, was named by Forbes in 2010 as one of the 14 most beautiful campuses in the world.

Multiple sanitation workers at PKU and THU claimed that campuses have become dirty, messy and terrible because there are just too many tourists in the summer. As a result, their workload have been increased, and working time extended. “I have just picked up cigarette butts. Now there are new ones being littered on the ground.”

Mr. Li, the head of the campus squad at Tsinghua University, said that despite the fact that a team of 100 student volunteers have been dispatched to maintain the order of the campus, the burden has not been lightened a bit.

Mr. Xing, the deputy director of the public security department of Peking University, said that they grant free admission to those who have made appointments or submitted written application in advance, and can receive as many as over 10,000 applications a day. “230 security officers and more than 30 student guides have been stationed on campus. Still not enough.”


People lining outside the west gate of Tsinghua


At one gate of Tsinghua University

Tour buses outside the gate

Overwhelmed with influx, Peking University have imposed a limit on the number of outsiders, which lasts from July 9 to mid August. Only 5,000 visitors will be allowed a campus tour. Staff, faculty, students and other insiders who have permit or student I.D. can bring in their friends and relatives unimpeded. Those without have to stand in lines waiting at the gates for clearance.

However, it has also occasioned inside jobs and speculators. “Waiting in the line would take at least an hour. You can get in easily by spending just 20 yuan,” a woman who claimed to be a master student at PKU said. A young couple from Wuhan willingly paid her cash. Then she flashed her pass at the guard and escorted them two through the southeast gate before she returned to the gate 10 minutes later and began hawking her businesses again.

“Some security officers have collaborated with these self-proclaimed insiders,” Zhang Xin (pseudonym), a guard at PKU said, “Those ‘insiders’ often bribe the chief security officers with cigarettes and buy drinks for him. Sometimes they even slip cash into his pockets.” He said that at the gate where he is stationed, more than 300 people can bypass the guards each day. “Insiders make about 1,000 yuan a day.”


A pond at Tsinghua University


Scribbles on the inside of the bell at PKU


Most visitors, many of whom bring kids along to frown upon the restriction policy. “PKU is a prestigious university. It ought to have tolerance and openness. Slapping restrictions at will runs afoul of its reputation and status,” among a dozen of visitors that the reporter with China Youth Daily interviewed, most think PKU shouldn’t have set any limit.

Some lawyers and scholars even believe that since PKU and THU are public universities funded and operated by the government, they spend taxpayers’ money. Besides, the two top universities have occupied a unique place on most Chinese minds. They need to do their best to answer the needs of the public.

诙诡谲怪 People loving to tour around your campuses is a great honor to your, okay? Do not always regard yourself as being one notch above others just because you go to a renowned university. It is built with taxpayers’ money!

张铭PKUCS:I once saw a person driving his own car stopped by the guard when he was trying to enter the gate. He questioned, “PKU is the PKU that belongs to all Chinese. I am a Chinese. Why can’t I go?”

阿海不孤单 Any person or institution that cuts itself off from the people will eventually be abandoned by the people.

However, students and alumni of the two universities see otherwise. Many nod at the policy in that the heavy traffic does adversely affect the normal functioning of the campus and university. Constant chatters outside windows interrupt classes. Children lark around in libraries where students study. Seats are hard to come by in the dining halls, as most tourists munch on inexpensive food meant for students.

What seems more outrageous to students and alumni are the fact that the most beautiful campuses are being trashed by wanton visitors.


As soon as a user uploaded a photo of tourists scribbling on the wall of a temple at PKU onto Sina Microblog, many who are too familiar with the architecture bristled with indignation.

濛仔:The moment I see this picture, I can’t refrain myself from sharing it…The lakeside is often a mess on the evenings of weekends, let alone during hot travel season in the summer. Not to mention uncles and aunties who take up study rooms in their entirety, grandpas and grannies who buy 50 steamed buns at a time at the dining hall, and flocks of children who lark and shout inside school buildings during classes…The openness of PKU is not to be recklessly abused and violated.

泡泡家的小骆驼 Every time I see tourists stirring around the style of the sundial (Jing: at THU), I just…//@某飞:I absolutely support the identification policy. University is a place for doing academic researches. It is supposed to be quiet. Those who wish to visit, please behave yourself as a guest. Any gate-crasher who attempts to supplant the host, f**k off!

Alex_袁炜 When I brought friends to the west side of Tsinghua before, I could often see graffiti that say “*** has been here,” and trash everywhere.

CatEchoGrep Don’t always keep mentioning taxpayers. How much tax you pay a year to PKU? Your dad I give 5,000 yuan to PKU a year. Why you should be let in peeing around and scribbling that “you’ve been here”?

碧水冰凌 Totally speechless. I hope they have the basic respect for a palace of knowledge.

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