Seven years after it was shut down, a nude bathing house in China's Sichuan province has reopened.
The bathing house, situated in the Yuping Mountain Scenic Spot, had to be closed following a social outcry.
Now that it has reopened, its developers say that they only "wished to allow tourists the pleasure of intimate contact with nature," and have no intentions of challenging public opinion of nude bathing.
While the reopening of the nude bathing house has been supported by some netizens, many lashed out at the step by calling it a "visual pollution" and a "disgrace to social ethics".
Li Jun, the general manager of the Yuping Mountain Scenic Spot, said that it was the "same deluge of public criticism" seven years ago that brought the shutters down on the bathhouse the first time.
Established in 2002, the nude bathhouse was soon shut down by local authorities alleging "disrespect for spiritual civilization", Li said.
The massive public outcry cost Shen Shuzhe, Li's predecessor, her job.
However, according to the China Daily, that has not deterred Li a bit in his endeavour to prove that the country was ready for a naked bath, which he referred to as "a form of art".
Li said: "Social opinions on the concept have changed a great deal, for the better, in China in seven years. I don't think people will be opposed to the idea."
Li revealed that the bathhouse had separate divisions for men and women, and was well guarded with security personnel to ensure the safety of the visitors.
Fang Gang, associate professor at the psychology department of the Beijing Forestry University, pointed out that there were no regulations or laws in China that forbade people from taking a bath in the nude, but the concept remained a taboo in mainstream Chinese culture.
He further underscored the fact that many such bathhouses had emerged in cities such as Cizi in Zhejiang province and Chongqing municipality, but still visitors remained rare for fear of social criticism.
Being an adamant supporter of nude bathing, Fang called for more tolerance from the Chinese public.
"Nude bathing is a way of life and merits respect as a sub-culture in our society," he said.