A man paddles on the Liangma River in Beijing on August 6, 2022. Photo: IC

 Beijing is mulling to stop water sports including the recently very popular paddle boarding and kayaking in some inner-city waterways out of safety considerations, banning wild swimming and ice skating in high-risk lakes, rivers and reservoirs.

Beijing’s water management-related departments have asked for public opinions on a new list of areas where water-related activities are restricted. 

According to the list, residents will be forbidden to engage in water sports including paddle boarding, kayaking, rubber boating and powerboating in waterways that have sightseeing boats within Beijing’s Fifth Ring Road area and within the Beijing Municipal Administrative Center.

Wild swimming and ice skating will also be banned in rivers, lakes and reservoirs, which have a high risk of drowning accidents in suburban areas, including the turbulent Yongding River in the city’s Shijingshan district.

But special cases of conducting water-related activities in the water areas mentioned above are allowed if they receive the approval of water, sports, and market monitoring departments.

But special cases of conducting water-related activities in the areas mentioned above are still allowed if they receive the approval of water, sports and market supervision departments.

To earnestly ensure the public’s safety, local authorities are required to strengthen inspection and maintenance of the facilities and dissuade the public from engaging in water sports in dangerous water areas.

Liangma River in Beijing’s Chaoyang district is an extremely popular scenic spot thanks to its beautiful riverbank scenery. Since the start of May, many Beijing residents who faced travel restrictions due to a local COVID-19 resurgence have come to the riverside to swim, go paddle boarding and kayaking in the river, or sunbathe, picnic with friends and walk their dogs.

At the same time, multiple drowning accidents have been seen since this year’s flooding season. The Beijing Water Authority has checked 287 dangerous water spots in its drowning prevention campaign, equipping them with warning signs, lifebelts, life jackets, rescue lines and lifeboats, Beijing Daily reported. 

A drowning accident just occurred in Yongding River two months ago when a 30-year-old man died while saving three drowning children who had gone into the river.

According to the National Health Commission, roughly 57,000 people drown every year in China and more than 56 percent of them are children and teenagers. 

Global Times