Chinese airline asks London passengers to avoid Indian areas, gets slammed for racist comment

Chinese airline asks London passengers to avoid Indian areas, gets slammed for racist comment
Inset: Picture of Air China’s magazine (courtesy: @Williamnee)

On Wednesday, a British lawmaker criticized Air China for the alleged ‘racist’ travel advice offered to passengers visiting London.

The airline’s in-flight magazine, ‘Wings of China’, reportedly provides safety advice to travellers based on the race and nationality of local residents.

“London is generally a safe place to travel, however precautions are needed when entering areas mainly populated by Indians, Pakistanis and black people,” the magazine says, according to a photograph published by CNBC.

“We advise tourists not to go out alone at night, and females always to be accompanied by another person when travelling,” the magazine adds.

The description prompted London-based lawmaker Virendra Sharma, who emigrated from India to the UK in the 1960s, to complain to the Chinese government.

“I am shocked and appalled that even today some people would see it as acceptable to write such blatantly untrue and racist statements,” he said in an online statement.

“I have raised this issue with the Chinese Ambassador, and requested that he ensures an apology is swiftly forthcoming from Air China, and the magazine is removed from circulation immediately,” Sharma said.

Neither Air China nor the Chinese embassy were immediately available to comment on the report, which comes during a period of tension between Beijing and London.

According to an AFP report, British Prime Minister Theresa May returned to London this week from the G20 summit hosted by China, where she defended her decision to delay giving the go-ahead to a nuclear power project in which Beijing has substantial investment.

China has a one-third stake in the plan to build Britain’s first nuclear plant in decades at Hinkley Point in southwest England, along with French company EDF. May unexpectedly delayed the project in July after EDF gave it a green light, saying on Sunday she would make a decision this month.

China’s ambassador to Britain, Liu Xiaoming, warned last month relations were at a ‘crucial historical juncture’ between the two countries.

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