Assault and menacing in Yangshuo China

Written by Dec 20, 2007 16:34
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How not to go to Yangshuo China

Details of assault and menacing in Yangshuo China at 6:00 AM on the morning of Dec 12th 2007.

On December 12 2007 at 6:00 AM the over night bus from Shenzhen China to Yangshuo China dropped a number of westerners in front of the Yangshuo bus terminal in the early morning darkness and empty streets. I was among these westerners.

Waiting for the bus were a number of motor cyclists and others with the intention of earning a few Yuan transporting or ushering the new arivals to various hotels and hostels.

Among them was a man representing the Xi Jie Hostel who gave me a bussiness card for the Xi Jie Hostel with the contact name of Larry.This representative that morning was a man wearing glasses if my memory is correct with a book of photo's of the rooms at the Xie Jie Hostel. When I said I did not want to stay at the Xi Jie Hostel this man began to slap me in the face. Then he was joined by another man and the two of them started to try to push me away from my destination of West Street and the Xi Jie Hostel that they claimed to be representing. The first man continued to slap me in the face while the second man said "this is our bussiness, you f*k our bussiness we f*k you". They continued to try to push me away from the bus stop and the other westerners who had been on the bus with me. Then the second man who I can only identify as wearing a light collored zip up jacket said he had a knife and would cut me. At that point I began to get angry and told them not to threaten me. I pushed my way back to join the others.

What ever was going to happen between us was going to happen then and there in front of everybody because I would not let them get me alone. At that point the situation diffused as subtly as it began I stared down the second man face to face while the first man went off to harass another group of arrivals, and it appeared he lead them south towards the Xie Jie Hostel. At this point the second man who claimed to have a knife walked away down the street.

I joined the group of remaining westerners who were unsure of their location. I assured them that we were in fact in Yangshuo and at the bus terminal as I had been there before. Together we walked towards West Street so I could show them where they were and we parted ways. The men who assaulted me and threatned to cut me had vanished and I walked to the hotel I intended to stay at and waited for sunrise and the relative safety of people on the street.

I tried to find the men again in the daylight in order to get photographs of them for the authorities but in the two block radius of the bus station I was unable to see them in daylight hours. I also thought it unwise and unsafe to seek them out when the next morning bus arrived although I am sure they can be easily found there even today.

I left Yangshuo the following day cutting short the trip by three days. The sense of gloom and suspicion was too much for me. I wrote my story at the police station before leaving despite a great apprehension about what I might be getting involved in.

This situation could occur any time in any part of the world, and no doubt would have been much more serious, but the events on the streets of Yangshuo are especially dissappointing since I have such fond feelings for the people of West Street and the beautiful experiment in human interaction that it is. The arrival of the morning bus and the presence of these men is a predictable event and the problem with this bus is well known enough to be easily read about on the Internet. However the stories on the internet give no indication of the possibility of this kind of crime only that there could be a hard sell when you got off the bus. Or that perhaps the bus would not go all the way to town and that people would meet you outside of town to take you to a hotel. Naively I thought my previous China experience would stand me in good stead and make any such trouble easily avoided.

What these men did was a crime and criminals can be found anywhere. In retrospect it may be easy to say not to take this bus and get off in Yangshuo before daylight but rather to ride it all the way to Guilin and take a local bus back in the daylight, and simply let it go. But with some consideration this situation can be interpreted as very dangerous, and one comes to the realization as I have that this story needs to be told. Even if these men were not serious about hurting me the situation was only a few seconds from escalating terribly to the point where someone was going to be hurt, and had they chosen a victim with less self control it would have, and it surely will in the future if this continues.

I owe future travelers to Yangshuo to tell my story as widely as possible, and I owe it to Yangshuo and the people of West Street to tell my story as widely as possible. This seems to be the only way to make something positive come of a deep sadness and sense of being violated. As a community travelers and destinations alike can take appropriate steps to mitigate or avoid situations if they know about them, but only if they know about them.

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