Visitors who enter forbidden areas and get stranded at the Huangshan Mountain scenic spot in Anhui Province will no longer enjoy free rescue services, reports the Beijing Youth Daily.
Under new regulations that took effect on January 1, hikers who sneak into the mountain area without tickets or those enter restricted areas will still be rescued. However, they will have to pay for the costs themselves.
The new rules have aroused heated discussions online.
Some say the scenic spot shouldn't charge for rescue services, as the taxes paid by citizens include such services.
However, many support the idea that rule-breakers should pay for irresponsible behavior, saying they not only risk their own lives, but also abuse public resources and put rescuers' lives in danger.
Huangshan Mountain is famous for its steep peaks and long hiking routes. The scenic spot now averages over 300 rescue operations per year.
In 2016, over 200 people were caught trying to enter restricted or undeveloped areas on the mountain.
But Huangshan is not the first to adopt charging policies. The Yading Nature Reserve in Sichuan Province started charging for rescue services in October 2014, the first in China to do so.
And in the United States, a number of states have implemented laws that demand people entering off-limits areas to pay for their rescue fees.
However, many search and rescue organizations are opposed to charging, arguing it makes lost hikers reluctant to call for help, endangering them further, as well as further endangering the search teams which have to be dispatched to search for them.