Off-limits swimming spots draw bathers

Updated: 2013-07-29 07:08

By Hou Liqiang (China Daily)

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As high temperatures continue, people are swimming in public areas where bathing is prohibited, despite official efforts to deter them.

On Sunday, the Beijing Meteorological Bureau issued an orange alert for the second time in five days when the daytime high temperature hit 37 C. An orange alert is the second-highest in China's four-color heat-warning system.

The high temperature has seen more swimmers show up in the Kunyu River, Shichahai Lake, Yuyuantan Lake and the southern city moat.

Under current regulations, swimming is allowed only in public areas without signs that prohibit swimming, which excludes all these popular spots.

Bathing is banned in some places as it is deemed unsafe. In Yuyuantan alone, more than 110 people drowned between 1995 and 2011.

The Beijing Water Administration and Law Enforcement Office launched a public education campaign on July 24 with two other departments on the danger of going swimming in such areas.

However, the campaign has been faltering as the high temperatures in Beijing persist.

"The law enforcement officers come, but that doesn't work. The swimmers will return soon after they go away," said a man named Li, who works at the small wharf outside the south gate of the Summer Palace.

(China Daily USA 07/29/2013 page4)