Air China slammed over racist travel tips

LONDON • A British MP has slammed Air China for alleged "racist" travel advice offered to customers visiting London.

The airline's "Wings of China" magazine 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 said, according to a photograph published by CNBC.

The magazine added: "We advise tourists not to go out alone at night, and females to always be accompanied by another person when travelling."

The description prompted London MP Virendra Sharma, who emigrated from India to the United Kingdom 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."

Air China said it has removed all copies of the in-flight magazine from its planes and pinned the blame for the "inappropriate expressions" on a sister firm, Air China Media, which issued an apology yesterday as the publisher of the offending advice.

But mainland social media users rushed to defend the controversial tips. In a common refrain, one user of China's Twitter-like Weibo platform asked: "This is just stating the truth - what is there to apologise about?"

Another queried: "There are rapists and robbers there anyway - why is saying this discriminatory?"

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 09, 2016, with the headline 'Air China slammed over racist travel tips'. Print Edition | Subscribe