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British MP hits out at 'racist' Air China London tips
[LONDON] A British MP on Wednesday slammed Air China for alleged "racist" travel advice offered to clients 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 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 MP 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," Mr Sharma said.
Air China's director of publicity Xu Yuanchun told AFP they were making inquiries, saying: "Air China has dozens of magazines; it's difficult to know all of them."
But on Chinese social media, most commenters expressed bafflement at the backlash.
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?" The report comes during a period of tension between Beijing and London.
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.
Ms 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.