Famous waterfall in China goes viral after hiker finds pipe supplying it

HONG KONG — China’s highest natural waterfall has cascaded into controversy after a video posted to social media showed water flowing from a pipe built into the rock face.

The Yuntai Sky Fall, which at just over 1,000 feet is classified as China’s highest tourism site, is popular with visitors, many of whom become soaked by mist as they view the torrent of water from a platform near its base.

But after a hiker posted the video showing the pipe on Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, the operators of the Yuntai Mountain Geo park where the falls are based admitted they had made a “small enhancement” to the site.

“To enrich the visiting experience of our friends, and to ensure that you who have traveled from afar do not come in vain, I have made a small enhancement during the dry season, solely to be able to present myself in a better state when meeting with my friends,” they said in a statement.

On Douyin, the video of the large pipe coming out of the mountain with water pouring out of it quickly went viral.

Alongside the video, the hiker who posted it wrote that it was difficult to reach the source of the waterfall, but when they got there they found only a pipe.

After the video was shared thousands of times, for the most part on Weibo, China’s largest microblogging site, users were understanding about the decision to keep the water flowing.

“As long as you are willing to put in the effort for me, that is good enough,” one user wrote. Another added that it was “great that you can still see the grand waterfall even during the dry season.”

“I understand,” one said. “Actually, many scenic spots do this during the dry season, otherwise without water it wouldn’t feel worth the visit.”

Others were slightly less forgiving.

“They are just so accustomed to fabricating things,” one user wrote, while others pointed out that the park was deceiving tourists and unfairly profiting.

Under Article 48 of the Tourism Law of the People’s Republic of China, “websites releasing information on tourism operation shall ensure the authenticity and accuracy of such information.”

Before the hiker uploaded the video, the pipe was not mentioned on the website or social media accounts of the park, which received more than 7 million visitors last year, according to the Department of Culture and Tourism in the eastern Henan Province, where the park is.

However, there are other artificial waterfalls in China, including one at the Tiantai Mountain in the eastern Zhejiang province that is known for its “punctual clocking off.”

Dry for 60 years because of the construction of a reservoir, in 2013 it was transformed into a cascading waterfall that now runs for set hours every day.

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