Shanghai police said they are investigating reports of six foreign tourists drunkenly urinating on a low barrier on an elevated road in full view of traffic on Saturday afternoon.
The driver of the bus carrying them told police the men forced him to stop and nearly caused an accident.
Police started investigation after a picture of the men urinating on the North-South Elevated Road was posted online yesterday morning, causing indignation on the Internet.
"They were urinating on the road and laughing, and all of them are foreigners," said a witness surnamed Huang, who took the picture and posted it.
The driver of the tourists' rented bus, surnamed Bian, was found by police from surveillance camera footage. The driver said he was driving a group of Danish tourists back from the Audi International Circuit racetrack in suburban Jiading District to Zhaojiabang Road in Xuhui District about 4pm on Saturday when the incident happened.
Bian said they forced him to stop, so he tried pulling over along the thin median.
"They drank too much and wanted to urinate," Bian told a local TV news report yesterday. "They dragged my steering wheel and I almost hit other cars."
It was not immediately known if the men had been identified or what punishment they might face. The driver could be punished for parking on the elevated road.
"It's too dangerous, not only for the cars but for themselves," a resident told the news report yesterday.
The case remained under investigation late yesterday.
The picture soon went viral on Sina Weibo, China's equivalent of Twitter. Many netizens condemned the behavior.
"These foreigners should be punished immediately," said netizen Ouyangmengzhou.
"Don't always talk about Chinese tourists not behaving in other countries. See what the foreigners do in China?" netizen zz52924 commented.
Others were more tolerant.
"Maybe it's because there are not enough public toilets?" said netizen with the screen name Shenhaigoulan.
"If they don't have a malicious or discriminating purpose, let's just take it a joke. Be tolerant, this is an open country," said netizen Yadian2008.