Air China accused of racism after London warning

Air China accused of racism after London warning

Air China faces accusations of racism after its in-flight magazine warned tourists to avoid parts of London it considered dangerous.

An article in the airline’s Wings of China said: “London is generally a safe place to travel, however precautions are needed when entering areas mainly populated by Indians, Pakistanis and black people.”

Air China is Asia’s third largest airline and flies twice a day between Beijing and Heathrow. The warning is repeated in both Chinese and English and was condemned by an MP.

Virenda Sharma, Labour MP for Ealing Southall, called for the magazine to be removed from circulation.

He told the BBC: “I am shocked and appalled that even today some people would see it as acceptable to write such blatantly untrue and racist statements.

“I have invited representatives of Air China to visit my constituency of Ealing Southall to see that a very multi-cultural area is safe, and would be of great value for those visiting London to see.

“I will await their response, and if an appropriate one is not forthcoming I shall feel forced to question whether Air China is a fit company to operate in the UK.”

Rosena Allin-Khan, Labour MP for Tooting, said: “My initial thoughts were that the comments were outrageous.

“The article 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 need to be taken.”

Chinese producer, Haze Fan, from US new channel CNBC tweeted a picture of the advice after reading the magazine during a flight on Tuesday, adding that her fiancé, a Londoner, “felt it rather insulting”. Respondents to her tweet called the warning “racist”.

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

The magazine is produced by IMM International. Air China and IMM failed to respond to a request to comment on the article, The Times reported.

The UK received more than 270,000 Chinese visitors last year, up 46% on 2014, according to VisitBritain.


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