BEIJING: It is generally a safe city, the Chinese state airline’s inflight magazine tells its readers – “but precautions are needed entering areas mainly populated by Indians, Pakistanis and black people.”
The comments have already caused what London’s Evening Standard newspaper described as a “racism storm.”
They appear to have been spotted by a Chinese journalist, Haze Fan, who tweeted a picture to London Mayor Sadiq Khan, adding that her Londoner fiancee found it “rather insulting.”
Khan has yet to reply on his Twitter feed, but the Evening Standard reported that some British politicians are already demanding an apology and that the phase be removed from the magazine, where it appears in both English and Mandarin.
Rosena Allin-Khan, member of parliament for the London constituency of Tooting, which has a significant population of ethnic Indians and Pakistanis, called the comments “outrageous” and offensive to all Londoners, not just members of ethnic minorities, the Standard reported.
Indeed, as Allin-Khan noted, many Londoners are proud of the capital city’s diversity.
Florence Eshalomi, a local government representative for the London borough of Lambeth and Southwark told the paper: “You couldn’t make up these outdated and near-racist views.”
“I keep thinking, is this 2016?” she said.
The row follows on the heels of what my colleague Ishaan Tharoor described a “shockingly racist” and “callous” Chinese detergent ad, which caused a storm of protest online back in May. That video showed a Chinese woman luring a paint-stained African man toward her, only to shove a detergent capsule into his mouth and bundle him into a washing machine. Out of the machine emerged a fresh-faced Chinese man.
As Tharoor also noted, Africans across China have often been subjected to attack and abuse.