Warning: This article contains graphic descriptions of sexual violence some readers may find disturbing.
A Chinese woman was stopped from entering a tourist place in China’s southwestern province of Yunnan for wearing a kimono.
The local tourist was visiting Erhai Lake Ecological Footpath in Dali with her friends when security guards confronted her for wearing the traditional Japanese dress, reported South China Morning Post (SCMP).
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Another visitor captured the incident on video which has since gone viral online. In the clip, one of the security guards can be heard berating the woman in Chinese (as translated by SCMP): “Is it appropriate for you to dress like this? Have you forgotten the Nanking Massacre?”
The employee referenced a significant part of Chinese history in December 1937, when Japanese troops committed large-scale killings and other abuses toward the civilian Chinese population. While figures for the death toll vary, Chinese authorities have estimated the number at around 300,000 deaths.
In her bestselling book, “The Rape of Nanking.” late journalist Iris Chang wrote, “Many soldiers went beyond rape to disembowel women, slice off their breasts, nail them alive to walls. Not only did live burials, castration, the carving of organs and the roasting of people become routine, but more diabolical tortures were practiced… So sickening was the spectacle that even Nazis in the city were horrified.”
As the guards continued lecturing the group, the kimono wearer argued that all she wanted to do was take pictures in the scenic parts of the area. One of her friends defended her and accused the guards of “morally kidnapping” them before asking, “Which law in China says people can not wear kimono?”
Soon after, other visitors joined in condemning the kimono wearer, reported SCMP. A female tourist reportedly told the group to “get out of Dali” and said, “Japanese killed your ancestors but you still wear their kimono. You are not Chinese.” Meanwhile, a male tourist said, “Don’t you feel shameful? Such a scum of society.”
The kimono wearer and her friends eventually decided to leave the area.
Administrators of the tourist spot said that they don’t have existing rules prohibiting visitors wearing kimonos from entering the tourist site. According to the tour zone’s manager, they are already looking into the case and will reach out to the concerned individual, reported SCMP.
The incident has sparked heated discussions online, with some arguing in favor of the kimono wearer and others offering negative opinions about her.
On social media platform Baidu, one commenter wrote, “Any Chinese with a little bit of history knowledge will not wear kimono in public places. This woman deserves to be scolded.”
Another user argued against such belief, saying, “According to this anti-kimono logic, I should not wear a suit because it is from the West and Western powers also invaded China over 100 years ago. We should not use Japanese products and we should not eat sushi? Please, be patriotic but also have a rational mind.”