Chinese coverup: Resort island cracks down on nude sunbathing

BEIJING - Chinese authorities in the southern resort island of Hainan have announced a crackdown on nude sunbathers, with loudspeakers and surveillance cameras as well as police patrols being used to deter potential offenders.

The official Xinhua news agency reported on Sunday that would-be nudists - usually middle-aged men from China - could be detained for between five and 10 days, depending on the seriousness of the offence.

The beaches around Hainan's coastal city of Sanya are very popular with domestic tourists but nude sunbathing is illegal, even though nude bathers have gathered there for years, sometimes numbering up to 500.

Xinhua, citing Hainan authorities, said people who refused to be dissuaded despite the police patrols, loudspeakers and cameras would receive "education through detention". "Normal people will not swim or sunbathe naked in a public place," Xinhua quoted Hainan's provincial party secretary, Luo Baoming, as saying. "This kind of behaviour is not consistent with China's cultural traditions," Luo said.

Xinhua quoted a man surnamed Wang as saying that the men were not at the beach to expose themselves but to treat their skin diseases through sunbathing.

He also said a portion of them also swim in the nude to"enjoy the feeling of returning back to nature".