Outrage as Chinese tourists let child urinate near sacred Thai site

Photo courtesy of Siambird via South China Morning Post

A photograph of two Chinese tourists allowing their child to urinate on a path near Chakri Maha Prasat Throne Hall in Bangkok has ignited a heated online debate.

The Chakri Maha Prasat Throne Hall, nestled within the Royal Grand Palace in Bangkok, is a symbol of national pride and a key venue for state ceremonies. Formerly a royal residence, it is now one of Thailand’s most treasured tourist attractions.

The controversial image, which rapidly spread on Douyin, Facebook, and TikTok, depicts a young girl, estimated to be around four or five years old, squatting by a concrete wall with her dress lifted to urinate. Her parents stand close by, the father identifiable by a Xiaomi-branded backpack. Observers speculate the family is from China, as reported by Thailand’s Morning News TV3.

“This is truly the nature of this nation. I saw it when I went there. Letting a child pee on the roadside like a dog.”

On May 8, the newly appointed Tourism and Sports Minister, Sermsak Pongpanit, condemned the incident as inappropriate. This follows the recent arrest of a local man for defacing the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, a crime punishable by severe penalties under Thailand’s Cleanliness and Ancient Monuments Acts.

One online commentator suggested the family’s actions could even fall under section 112 of Thailand’s penal code, which deals with insulting the monarchy and carries a prison sentence of three to 15 years.

This incident comes on the heels of another controversy involving a racist sign in a Thai temple toilet. The sign, which read: Please keep clean in Thai and English, was translated into Chinese as Chinese tourists, please keep clean, sparking accusations of discrimination.

“As a Chinese person, I also despise some of our tourists who do not flush toilets, spit on the ground, speak loudly, and litter everywhere.”

China’s Foreign Ministry has consistently urged its citizens to maintain decorum while travelling abroad, as Chinese tourists continue to face scrutiny for their behaviour, such as kicking ancient bells, spitting on pavements, and jumping queues, reported South China Morning Post.

In mid-March, a Chinese tourist caused a stir by swapping a used water bottle for a new souvenir flask at the British Museum, further fuelling the debate on tourist etiquette.

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Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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