Naked foreigners in the Summer Palace

Beijing's Summer Palace is connected to two of the more sensitive spots in the history of Sino-foreign relations. In 1860, Anglo-French forces sacked and burned down the original Summer Palace (圆明园) during the Second Opium War. In 1900, whatever buildings survived were destroyed by what the Chinese call the Eight-Power Allied Forces (八国联军) who were in Beijing relieving the 'Siege of Peking' and putting down the Boxer Rebellion. At the same time, they also vandalized and destroyed parts of the new Summer Palace (颐和园). Both times, the looting was calculated to humiliate the Qing Dynasty court.

So foreigners misbehaving at those locations can touch some sensitive nerves.

The video below has been on Youku's front page for most of today. It's uses still photos, voice overs and subtitles to depict what seems to be two Western men sunbathing in the nude.

The comments to the post on Youku's page show a huge range of opinions. There are people who say "Ha, ha, Americans are funny" and "What's the big deal? A couple of foreigners take their clothes off, who cares?" And then there are those who say "Kick these useless %$@#$% sons of $%#$%% out of China now!"

File under "hurting the feelings of the Chinese people".

UPDATE: Billsdue wrote about the same photos of naked foreigners posted on BBS portal Qihoo three days ago: Ignorance, Racism Or Xenophobia?

There are currently 33 Comments for Naked foreigners in the Summer Palace.

Comments on Naked foreigners in the Summer Palace

They'll be ravaged by Anglo French forces - if they're lucky.

...Wonder what the reaction would have been if it had been two attractive young ladies instead of two middle-aged men... I guess a lot more hits on Youku for starters

Summer palace should have never been restored. It should have been left to its original pillaged state to remind people of the excess of the Qing Imperial Court as well as the humiliation endured. The beauty of the palace is truly distasteful. It was paid for later with defeat during the First Sino-Japanese War.

It is amazing that such a site is not burnt to the ground during the Cultural Revolution.

Wish it could have been two attractive women. Of course the police would not have arrested them, instead half of the Beijing PSB and quite a few local bosses would have shown up to take pics and videos. A few brave souls would've tried to chat them up.

Danwei commented on Chinese people's feelings being hurt by the behavior of these Laowais. My Chinese feelings are hurt not by the White Trash, I hold them in low regard anyway, but by the fact that out of the thousands of Chinese guys in Summer Palace on that day, not even one had walked over and beat the crap out of that pair of losers.

What is your rationale for bring up the French and British thugs ransacking summer palace and Yuan-Ming-Yuan a hundred years ago as a background for this story? Are you trying to frame the issue as Chinese being over-sensitive and over-reacting to some innocent laowais having some harmless fun? You don’t feel a pair of grown-ups exposing their junk in a public space with dense human traffic is insulting in any country, and in any historic-context (assuming these were not escapees from a mental hospital)?

Keep in mind there is another video out there about a Chinese woman bathing naked in the fountain on the Bund in Shanghai...

Even those Chinese get wacky!

As a Chinese, I didn't see any connection between these 2 misbehaving foreigners and Eight-Power Allied Forces. Not only is there no logical connection indeed, but also I didn't think of it intuitively when I saw the news.

I think it would almost raise the same arguments if the 2 were Chinese. There was a similar case that happened few yeas ago when a Chinese mid-aged woman showed up in a public park in ShenZhen wearing an almost transparent blouse. People were blaming her misbehaviors.( Of course, I enjoyed more on that news since that's a lady with a fine figure:P )

Most of the times it does not affect my judgment whether the people involved are foreigners or not. The only case I could not hide my disgust was when I saw an old, fat, bald, uneducated-look westerner walked in the street with a young pretty Chinese girl intimately. Logically, I don't think this should deserve more disgust than the scene with a Chinese old ugly man. However, the feeling was so instinctive and impulsive that I almost went up to the girl and said "Hey, You know what, I'm a %%%% citizen, and technically I'm a LaoWai too."

people get freaked when they see one of "their" women with someone of another race. it comes down to thinking women are "owned" by their race. So there's a young chinese chick with an old western man. big deal. they're both adults, they can do what they want. who are you to shove your inability to deal with the situation onto them?

These guys in the park, on the other hand, were likely breaking a law of some sort. I don't think nudity is a big deal, but there's a time and place for everything. The Summer Palace in peak family tourist season is neither the time nor place to hang out your bits.

Mr Bianxiangbianqiao, you need to get that bad temper of yours treated I suggest you, as a shock treatment, go naked yourself on the great wall or better even go naked on any of your trips abroad, let's say on the eiffel tower. You'll see that over there people more civilized that you will even cheer you for doing so.
I think chinese people in general need to do a bit more as they please and a little less as they are told, either by their parents or the party. The only one party that is.
Also I would like to say, what does two foreigners sunbathing naked have to do with the opium waars ???? what kind of rubbish is this???. Why overblow such a small issue ??? I'm pretty sure those police officers where embarrased enough for having to deal with something so silly.

The more I think about it, the more disturbed I become. Would these perverts have behaved the same way if they were in Washington DC or London? What is so special about China that has made these perverts feel perfectly free and comfortable to take off their clothes and display their junk, on the bank of the Summer Palace, in broad daylight, in the gaze of thousands of Chinese people, including teenage and prepubescent girls?

I became even more disturbed when these perverts reminded me of John Mark Carr.

What is the difference between these bare-assed creeps in summer palace and the creep John Mark Carr? Is it a difference of degree or difference of quality?
Now that China has bare-assed creeps in summer palace, how long will it take for us to have our own contingent of pedophile creeps like John Mark Carr roaming our cities and countryside?
Does having bare-assed creeps in the Summer Palace in broad daylight tell us something about China? Does the fact that John Mark Carr was found in Thailand tell you something about Thailand? Can we learn something about a country by examining the type of people it attracts from the outside and the type of behavior it tolerates in these outsiders? What kind of places attract pervert and creeps from all over the world?
When John Mark Carr was picked up in his hiding hole in Thailand and brought back to the United States, Americans were fascinated day and night by his self-professed killing of child pageant JonBenet Ramsey in his fantasy. No American cared a bit about how many Thai children this creep might have ACTUALLY harmed IN REAL LIFE. Of course it is the responsibility of the Thais to care for their off-springs. The fact that the Thais don’t stirs up a lot of pity on them, but not a whole lot of sympathy (which involves affection and respect).
I am greatly relieved, heartened and moved to realize that China is far from being Thailand or Cambodia. However, do the Chinese need to do something, or stop doing some other things, to prevent China from ever becoming like Thailand or Cambodia?


Are you implying that Chinese people are closed mind simply because some may find public nudity disturbing? The Chinese society is still rather conservative by most standards. Thank you for your closed minded generalization.

Seriously, if you want to do public nudity then goto Paris and do your thing. No one is stopping you. Sure some may cheer but you will probably be arrested there too. Hell, goto USA and do this in any none nudist designated public space, see what happens.

Frankly I find this incident disturbing. No, not because it touches some sensitive bullshit issues like those mentioned in the article, but because I find public nudity in a none nudist park disturbing. I don't care what you do with your own self. But if you do such a thing in a public sphere you are bound to affect others. If this takes place in such a way that all party are in agreement to the action being taken, I have no problem. But this incident is forcing others to accept things that they have not agreed to, i.e you are infringing on the rights of others. Rights that you so cherish. To me that is bullshit.

On personal level I'm not afraid of a little nudity. But if I ever have kids I DO NOT want them to be exposed to two nasty ass middle aged naked guys.

As for the blog linked. I agree with some of the things he is saying. I for one do not like these kinds of crap that whips up nationalistic and xenophobic feelings etc.

However, just to put things into perspective. Say any sort of "incident" involving some Chinese national (or negative China related news) happens in the U.S.A. and this gets posted on a major web portal (not to mention the headline with the words Chinese national will automatically will have negative connotations for some). You will usually find comments such as:

Nuke the Chinese!

Ching ching chong chong...

Slanty eyed Chinks, ching ching chong chong.

Cheap Chinese, fuck Chinese and their cheap goods.

Where is my General Tso Chicken? No tip for you...

Etc etc...

What does this say? All it says is something about the nature of human beings. And that it's bad to generalize, you will find peoples of all sorts posting on the internet. The Western media and world is not so saintly with respect of racism and xenophobia.

LOL. We're similar in ways. You guys are in China. While I'm in the U.S.A. Occasionally feelings the same sort of shit. LOL. That's is hella of funny.

Buddah Man
I agree with your comments. It is just a hell of a challenge to live a globalized life. Jesus, thanks for your concern for my mental health.

I was in the Park on Monday, I *personally* saw a 50+ yr old chinese male strip down to nothing and jump in the water, whilst walking through the park. So, I don't think its too uncommon there, despite the no-swimming signs.

I was more bothered that I couldn't get the boat back to where I came from because they neglected to tell me the last boat leaves at 5pm.

Shock horror, naked people. What next...

Yeah man. Child molesters are scary.

Anway, about my second comment, it was supposed to be semi funny, but it did sort of come out the wrong way. Most of the posts on the internet I see are rather intelligent, and not as ignoranant as I portray them to be.

Budda and Bianxiang Bianqiao,

my comments were more directed to Mr Bianxiang Bianqiao reaction than to the fact that two silly foreigners where so stupid as to sunbathe naked on the Summer Palace. Let's make it clear that Mr.(or Mrs) Bianxiang Bianqiao was advocating that someone should have had those foreigners beaten up, while somebody else is comparing this to cases of paedophilia. They can try that for the Olympics: "Welcome to China , enjoy and behave, or the locals will have you beaten up"

If they had been exposing themselves like public flashers it might have been another matter, but I happen to know well the summer palace and that place is a portion of garden quiet apart from the main area where tourists go. Just two harmless hippies sunbathing.

And as for my children they can see plenty naked men and women when they go on the beach in europe, where they have grown up with a perfectly natural attitude towards nudity. They couldn't be bothered.

Mr. Bianxiang Bianqiao, your are disturbed about this ????? My god you are a sensible type.

Mr. Bianxiang Bianqiao,

How do we know there aren't Chinese versions of John Mark Carr out there? As we all know the Chinese gov't/media is very open about the criminal activites of local people. What is China's murder rate? What is China's real rate of suicide? How many girls are sexually assaulted in China? Are there hookers in China? What happens in KTV's after dark? No, there aren't any villages set up along the highways of China that are huge brothels for the truck drivers. People in China are just "protected" from the reality of their own country's seedy under-belly. China is just as full of sexual evil as any nation. If China wants to prevent becoming like Thailand then someone needs to tell the 30-50 year old married Chinese men to clean up their act!
The 'nudists' were just being ignorant. They knew better but just didn't care. I seem to remember a few years ago a group of CHINESE students at some university (maybe in Xian) posing nude outside in public for some pictures! Boys and girls together! Those perverts!!!

In the distance past, the sight of a white penis was a privilege only to the young and beautiful urban gold diggers but now it's openly free for all commoners to enjoy! Thanks to global warming? Or Walmart?

LOL. What if these two dudes expose themselves in middle east?

Take my words as constructive criticism; I am not trying to pick a fight or anti-west. But your comments vividly reveal the typical patronizing insensitivity of Westerners. You try to impose your values, ideology, customs, ways of life and religion on everyone that crosses path with you. If we don’t want your stuff, you call us sensitive (or worse). Your children may be ok with adult nudity. I don’t have a problem with that; it's your way of life. As long as your family and society are ok with it, good for you. However, exposing adult ass cracks to Chinese children is creepy and perverted by Chinese Standards and as far as I know Summer Palace is in China and teeming with Chinese kids (it was my childhood hang-out, for god's sake…. I loathe those freaking creeps!!!). Would you go to a Muslim country to offer pork bacon sandwich to Muslim brothers coming out of a Mosque?
Don’t get me started on the Olympics. But your advice of "Welcome to China, enjoy and behave" is right on. Get rid of "the locals will have you beaten up" part; most Chinese are more civilized than me. I am just crass and enjoy being so (thanks to the excellent assertiveness training I have received from living in the US). In fact yesterday I was discussing the same spirit in my blog "Nine years ago when I was changing flight at Narita Airport, there was a huge red banner at the border control, in bold English letters (only): “Enjoy your stay, but follow the rules.” 排队的老外无不规规矩矩。当时我心里高呼"向日本人学习,向日本人致敬。"Why? Because十二年前作为外经外事战线上一名年轻的新兵在泰国曼谷(Bangkok), …… know what I saw…………disgusting, yak, 我心里自语"千万别学泰国。" China is Chinese, and should be run by the Chinese, on Chinese rules, values and ideology. For better or worse, we all live a global life; there is no escape from that, forget it. To live together productively, we must respect each other's unique culture, especially when you are in my country and when I am in your country.



(Here we see two people who perhaps have mental problems, there's no need to assume that because some foreigners have such mental problems, all foreigners need a lecture in respecting Chinese people. Also Bianxiang, if you think that the mentally ill need a good kicking... maybe don't consider a career in health care or education)

I agree with you on the facts about evils in China. What you said were all factually true, but beside the point. The heart of the issue in this incident is inter-group contact, cross-cultural interaction and the sensitivity and respect these activities take to be productive.
Your assumption is that a bare foreign ass in China and a bare Chinese ass in China are the same deal. That is simply not true. Asses do not exist in a vacuum. Asses belong to individuals, who have group affiliations and culture identities. The Chinese bare asses from Xian you mentioned belong to idiots (to the eye of their in-group), whereas bare foreign asses in Summer Palace belong to jerks who come here to insult us and give us the finger in our face. In my younger days I had traveled to every populated continent in the world and took as much pride in my Chinese ass as anybody else but I would never consider displaying it in a foreign land, even if the locals were all bare-assed; there is a boundary between in-group and out-group that needs to be respected. Of course Westerners are well aware of all that; they just feign ignorance for convenience when they rudely overstep the boundary.
I don’t buy the ignorance argument from you or the mental illness diagnosis from joy-boy. I don’t know what's the deal with them any more. I don’t wanna call them names any more. Maybe they are just morons and nothing more. I just want them to get lost.
I don’t buy Jesus' hippies diagnosis either. If you have been to Ithaca NY, close to Cornell, you would find bare-assed hippies soaking in a pond in the woods if you are a hippy yourself. If you are not a hippy, you will never see them even after a year in town. They just don’t behave with the audacity the way these two creatures in Summer Palace did. It's something about their attitude toward us Chinese.



"To live together productively, we must respect each other's unique culture, especially when you are in my country and when I am in your country."

Does that explain all of the chinatowns around the world? Respect for local customs and laws or seeking seperate and self-segregate from the "barbarians"?

bianxiangbianqiao: "In my younger days I had traveled to every populated continent in the world and took as much pride in my Chinese ass as anybody else but I would never consider displaying it in a foreign land, even if the locals were all bare-assed; there is a boundary between in-group and out-group that needs to be respected."

I quite agreed with your analysis until you wrote the part I quoted here. In many countries the locals would not know whether you were a foreigner or not as ethnicity is not the same as nationality. You seem to equate being white with being western and vice-versa. What id these two fellas were ABC? They'd still be westerners but I douvt there'd be as much of a fuss.

Does that explain all of the chinatowns around the world? Respect for local customs and laws or seeking seperate and self-segregate from the "barbarians"?

I get the fact that your mad, but I object to the way you continuously slip from talking about two specific individuals to all people associated with the West. You say: Of course Westerners are well aware of all that; they just feign ignorance for convenience when they rudely overstep the boundary." As if all Westerners consider it their right to stroll around the Summer Palace in the buff. You're an American, right, I bet you love it when you get associated with Americans who do moronic things in other countries.(And I still disagree with beating the crap out people as a "solution" to things like this. Thank god the Chinese are more harmonious than you are.)


Unless the Summer Palace has become a hangout of naked pudgy men of late, these guys were on a stag do the night before, which never ended. Well it ended with them partying all night, ending up very drunk, stripping down for a dip in the lake before drying off in the morning sun. It was the guys stag do and before his wedding they were having a last little bit of fun. By the standards of some of the stag do-s I’ve been to this looks rather tame and hardly something that anyone should take any offence at. A couple of hours in the cop shop to sober up and they were sent home.

heheheh呵呵, not clear pictures...



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