China's controversial Yuntai Falls: Why did officials give it a 'small enhancement' with a pipe?

The Yuntai Waterfall is described by scenic park officials as the highest in Asia with a 314-metre vertical drop. Representational image/Shutterstock/Cocos.Bounty

Yuntai Falls, famed as China's highest waterfall, has been one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country. Little did the tourists know that what they were witnessing was nothing but a strong torrent of 'pipe water.' Scenic park operators in China's Henan province were recently forced to acknowledge that Yuntai got a helping hand from a pipe due to a lack of rainfall. A video from a Douyin user, or the Chinese version of Tiktok and reported by media, showed a tourist revealing a large pipe burrowed at the top of the falls, recently. The video, which has been shared 48,000 times, unleashed a torrent of social media comments, forcing park officials on Tuesday to release a letter that blamed seasonal factors and admitted to a "small enhancement during the dry season."

The move was meant to "enrich the visiting experience" and make the "trip worthwhile" for those "who have travelled a long way," operators wrote on their Weibo social media account. Chinese netizens jumped on the pipe disclosure. "The main thing is that the water pipe is so crudely installed, others at least disguise it in a superior way," wrote a user on Weibo, China's popular social media platform. "The move does not respect the laws of nature nor the visitors," wrote another netizen.
A 'good faith effort'
The waterfall is described by the scenic park officials as the highest in Asia with a 314-metre vertical drop. In 2023, the Yuntai Mountain scenic area attracted over seven million visits, according to local tourism authorities. Some took a more conciliatory view on the use of the pipe,  with one user saying "that it is better than seeing no water at all," and another musing, "it is a good faith effort for the scenic area to maintain the landscape during dry periods."

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