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Goodbye, Dali: Hip Tourist Spot Turns Into Ghost Town as Sewage Scare Prompts Shutdown

By Zhou Chen, Wu Meiwei and Li Rongde
Residents remove water hyacinth in White Horse village, north of Erhai Lake, on April 20. Photo: Chen Liang/Caixin
Residents remove water hyacinth in White Horse village, north of Erhai Lake, on April 20. Photo: Chen Liang/Caixin

(Dali, Yunnan province) — Once a magnet for tourists, the bustling waterfront of Dali now looks like a ghost town, a little over a month after the local government ordered over 1,000 bars, restaurants and hotels dotting the shores of idyllic Erhai Lake to shut down.

Owners were given 10 days’ notice to cancel bookings and wind down operations after authorities announced on March 31a sweeping review of the waste disposal systems of businesses around China’s second-largest highland lake. It is not clear how long the review will last, and the government has not announced any compensation for losses accrued.

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