China to probe airlines’ racial remarks on travel guide

Beijing: China today asked its flag-carrier Air China to investigate the racial comments found in its in-house magazine advising London visitors to take ‘precautions’ when entering areas populated by “Indians, Pakistanis and black people”.

“I have seen the report but I have no specific information on that,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying told a media briefing here while replying to questions on the Air China magazine’s comments.

“I have noticed that this morning Air China has already given response ot this issue. We hope air China will properly deal with it, Hua said.

Air China’s ‘Wings of China’ has carried a long feature on visiting London. After a section on transport options and lifestyle and cultural activities in London, Wings of China has offered some “Tips from Air China”.

“London is generally a safe place to travel, however precautions are needed when entering areas mainly populated by Indians, Pakistanis and black people,” China’s flagship carrier advises in the magazine.

“The position upheld by Chinese goverment is that all ehtnic gorups are equal.We are firmly oppsoed ot any form of racial discmination and this position is clear and consistent,” Hua said.

“For tips travelling in London, we will issue some specific travel warnings for people going to very dangeorus places but for london I have no specific tips for Chinese people there,” she said.

Asked if the Chinese ambassador will get involved, Hua said, “I have seen report but no specific information on that. As I said china’s policy concerning different races and ethnic groups is very clear…we urge Air China to properly deal with thi issue and carry out a thorough investigation.”

Indian-origin abour MP for Ealing Southall Virendra Sharma had tweeted yesterday, “This is offensive and I hope AirChina will remove this magazine and apologise immediately.”

Sharma had demanded an apology from Air China for “blatant racism”.

In a statement, Sharma had said, “Today I have written in the strongest possible terms to His Excellency Mr Liu Xiaoming, Ambassador Extraordinary & Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China, to raise my concerns about reports of racism in their inflight magazine.”

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