Tuesday, May 17

Chinese airline magazine warning tourists to avoid visit parts of ethnic minority areas in London



A passage in the current edition of Wings of China, the publication distributed on Air China, Asia’s third largest airline, warns “London is generally a safe place to travel, however precautions are needed when entering areas mainly populated by Indians, Pakistanis and black people.

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

The phrase is repeated in both Mandarin and English in the magazine’s feature on the capital.

The “racist” article shocked one Chinese journalist, Haze Fan, on a flight in China so much she tweeted a picture of it to Mayor of London Sadiq Khan asking him what he thought.

She said her Londoner fiancée “felt its rather insulting”.

Now politicians are demanding an apology and that the phrase is removed from the publication by the airline, which flies twice daily between London and Beijing.

Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, Labour MP for Tooting, which has one of the largest Indian and Pakistani populations in London, said: “My initial thoughts were that the comments were outrageous.

“I think that it is offensive to Londoners and I would like to see it removed. I would also like to ask the airline why they thought these precautions needed to be taken.

“Why they feel they needed to warn people of something that is not reflective of London at all?

“I think it is offensive to all Londoners, not just the ethnic minorities mentioned.

“We pride ourselves on having a wonderfully diverse community, and this may mean people come here with a different idea, it is worrying that some may arrive concerned.

“I am going to be writing to the Chinese Ambassador to invite him to visit Tooting in London, where all races live side by side. Then they can see how we live and our wonderfully diverse community.”

An excerpt from the magazine’s feature on visiting London Lambeth and Southwark London assembly member Florence Eshalomi told the Standard that “you couldn’t make up these outdated and near-on racist views”.

She said: “I keep thinking, is this 2016?

“We want people who embrace our diversity and different culture – that is the make-up of London.

“If airlines have a problem with that then we don’t want them in London.

“We would love to offer Chinese tourists a tour of areas like Peckham, Brixton and Newham where they would be welcomed with open arms by our diverse communities.”

A spokesman from civil rights campign group Hope Not Hate spokesman said: “If true, these comments are crassly ill-informed and offensive, and simply peddle to outrageous stereotypes.

“It beggars belief to understand how they could have been written in the first place.

“They should be removed immediately. Londoners deserve an apology.”

Air China has been contacted for a comment.