A video of a short-lived brawl in Yunnan is making the rounds on social media and microblogging services, causing a stir even though not much happened. It was filmed in all its pixelated glory over the National Day holiday at Lugu Lake in the northwestern portion of the province.
The scuffle — video of which was published online by news website The Paper — broke out after local vendors repeatedly admonished a group of tourists for throwing garbage into the lake. After one final round of rebukes, the two sides erupted into a short-lived skirmish in which at least one participant picked up a boat oar and began swinging at other people.
In total, the video filmed at the Sanjiacun Pier lasts only four seconds, although the fracas may have been longer. At one point it shows a group of three people lying on the dock where the fight started. The combatants were reportedly separated before law enforcement personnel arrived. Local authorities in Yunnan's Ninglang County issued a statement naming the litterer as a Chinese national surnamed Chen. He — along with several other people with minor injuries — was taken to a nearby hospital where he has treated for a dislocated finger.
The police report ended by saying "The case is being investigated further". Mr Chen was throwing sunflower seeds into the lake, which may be an offense that goes unpunished, although it is possible his participation in the fight may land him on China's ever-growing travel blacklist.
While the event itself will no doubt soon be forgotten, it briefly highlighted the ongoing evolution of Chinese public consciousness regarding garbage disposal and social responsibility. Several comments left on QQ's streaming service — where the video has been viewed a somewhat astonishing 44 million times — called for a travel ban for Chen, while others deemed him "low class" and "lacking morals".
Lugu Lake straddles the border of Yunnan and Sichuan. The area is known for its beauty, as well as for being fairly well managed in terms of pollution prevention. This year over the National Day golden week, a reported 88,000 people visited the lake, drawn by local Mosuo minority culture and pristine natural views. In a China where environmental consciousness has taken on patriotic importance, it appears locals are willing to fight to keep what they have.
Top image: Lijiang Tourism Bureau