All it took was a photo of some downed railings at the sacred Emerald Buddha Temple to set off a new surge of Sinophobia.
Twitter user @iamgoodview claimed to witness Saturday a group of Chinese tourists randomly knocking down barriers there to protect the wall murals just for fun. He claimed that when officials intervened, the tourists just made excuses until they were told their actions were captured on CCTV, at which point they went quiet and were let off the hook.
Someone who answered the phone at the temple today declined to answer questions or confirm whether the incident happened.
Though based solely on one unverified account, the image – which could also show them lowered for another purpose – stoked the passions of anti-Chinese sentiments among Thais online, who went on to exchange stories of Chinese visitors smoking in forbidden areas and spitting on shared tables at restaurants.
With a surge in Chinese holiday-makers has come a reputation for unsavory behavior that’s become fashionable to criticize.
A string of high-profile incidents hasn’t helped. Most recently several travelers forced an AirAsia flight departing Bangkok’s Don Mueang Airport back after they assaulted a flight attendant with scalding water and made threats about “blowing up” the airplane because they were unhappy with the service.
Thai authorities let them go without pressing charges; Chinese officials are vowing harsh punishment for embarrassing their nation.
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