One of 40 fake Terracotta Warriors is smashed in Xi'an, Shaanxi province, on Wednesday night.Provided To China Daily
Several platoons of fake Terracotta Warriors were smashed to bits in Xi'an early on Thursday after the city launched a crackdown on misleading museums and tricky tour guides.
Officials from the Shaanxi provincial capital's public security, tourism and commerce bureaus destroyed 40 copycat statues at the Suyuan Qin Terracotta Army, a privately owned attraction, after complaints of scams targeting tourists.
Xi'an is home to the world-famous Qin Shihuang Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum, which has thousands of life-size statues of soldiers, horses and carriages dating back to the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC).
Authorities were alerted after a visitor from Wuhan, Hubei province, posted on WeChat this month about being cheated in late 2016 by a fake police officer, fake taxi driver and fake tour guide, who took him to an attraction posing as a Terracotta Warriors museum.
After seeing the complaint, the city's Party secretary, Wang Yongkang, ordered officials in Lintong district, which houses the real museum, to investigate and clean up the tourism market.
"The Terracotta Warriors and Horses are one of the world's wonders and attract millions of domestic and foreign tourists every year, "he said.
The statues were unearthed in 1974 about a kilometer from the Mausoleum of Qin Shihuang, resting place of the first emperor of a unified China. They quickly became one of the nation's hottest tourism destinations.
In 2016, the museum logged 120 million visitors.
With the tourism boom, a number of private scenic spots opened around the mausoleum, some of which have been cheating tourists.
Qi Zhiqiang, a retired driver, said a tour bus owner he used to work for could make 6,000 yuan ($870) from 30 tourists on a one-day bus tour to the mausoleum and museum.
"We liked to send the tourists to the private scenic spots because some 50 percent of our tour earnings was from commissions paid by the scenic spots, shops and restaurants," he said.
Xia Nian, a college student in Beijing, filed a report with Xi'an police last week after an unlicensed bus took her on a one-day tour to see fake Terracotta Warriors.
"I was on the way home to Gansu province for my winter vacation and stopped in Xi'an to visit the warriors, but I was cheated by being shown the fake ones and paid nearly twice what it costs to visit the real museum," the city police quoted her as saying. "There were some illegal one-day tour buses around the railway station and I could not distinguish between the illegal and legal buses."
Liu Sanmin, head of Lintong district government, said his district had organized teams with police and officials of concerned departments to crack down on the illegal tour buses and guides and to restore order to the city's tourism market.
"We will resolutely eradicate the sources of tourism chaos and punish the illegal businessmen as well as government agencies and officials who are ineffective in rectifying the tourism market," Liu said.