Video, Chinese tourist destroys 3,000-year-old stalagmite

Wonton Vandalsim

It takes nature hundreds of thousands of years to create limestone stalagmites in scenic caves, but only a few seconds for a badly behaved tourist to damage them.

Such was the case in southwest China when a young man deliberately destroyed a 50cm stalagmite at a cave in Songtao county, Guizhou province, adding yet another entry to the list of Chinese tourists’ obnoxious behaviour, the Beijing Youth Daily reported on Friday.

Surveillance cameras caught the white-shirted man trying to kick off the stalagmite on the side of the main path in the cave, while other tourists were taking photos of the natural marvels.

He made three attempts to eventually knock off a 30cm-long tip and then walked away without taking it, the footage showed.

The scenic attraction’s administrators contacted local police, but the man has not yet been found.

Cave enthusiast Wang Dayong told the Beijing Youth Daily that it takes an excruciatingly long time – many thousands years – for a stalagmite to form from the ground up, drip by drip, or stalactites, which form downwards from cave ceilings, and they can hardly be restored.

Similar stalactite damage has also been reported in Shandong and Liaoning provinces, the newspaper said.

“This is a deliberate action,” an internet user commented. “We should have a black list to prevent badly-behaved tourists from entering similar scenic spots.”

Lawyer Chen Hao said such vandalism should be denounced. He suggested that the cave’s administration have the broken stalagmite appraised at a laboratory.

“Police will detain the man if the appraisal value is above the threshold of criminal charge. If not, the administration office can sue the man for compensation,” Chen said. – SCMP

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