Air China gives passengers extremely racist travel tips on London areas to avoid
Most of the articles in inflight magazines are total BS, but that doesn’t mean Air China telling passengers to avoid London’s “ethnic” neighborhoods is any less bigoted. The magazine has reportedly been removed from planes after Chinese journalist Haze Fan tweeted an image of a passage, in both English and Mandarin, warning travelers of the dangers of some London hoods. The piece warned that “precautions are needed when entering areas mainly populated by Indians, Pakistanis and black people,” women should not travel alone to these areas, and everyone, male or female, should try to always to be accompanied by another person. It’s offensive all around.
According to The Guardian, two parliament members have written to the Chinese ambassador to the United Kingdom to ask for an apology and for members of Air China to come for a little neighborhood tour. Virendra Sharma, who represents Ealing Southall, an area that’s 39 percent Asian (in Britain, “Asian” means anyone from the continent of Asia, by the way), said in a letter to the ambassador, “I have invited representatives of Air China to visit my constituency of Ealing Southall to see that a very multicultural area is safe, and would be of great value for those visiting London to see.” He added, “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 U.K.”
Haze, who tweeted the picture, tagged London’s newly elected Mayor Sadiq Khan. Khan is the first Muslim mayor and was born in London to Pakistani immigrants. He hasn’t responded publicly yet to the article in Air China, but much of his policy ideas for the city are focused on tackling inequality, bringing people together, and preserving London’s nightlife scene. The city is safe, and he wants to make it even safer for everyone — tourists and the city’s multicultural citizens alike. In light of a recent nightclub closure for a “culture of drug use,” he said he was disappointed that London’s city council and the club couldn’t come to an agreement.
Khan said, according to the The Evening Standard, “Clubbing needs to be safe, but I’m disappointed that Fabric, Islington Council and the Metropolitan Police were unable to reach agreement on how to address concerns about public safety. As a result of this decision, thousands of people who enjoyed going to Fabric as an essential part of London’s nightlife will lose out.”
That the mayor of London is concerned about the decline in nightlife over the past decade is a pretty badass way to start making sure that the good times outweigh any bad that might exist among Londoners. So Air China is totally out of line, and out of touch with London’s culture to suggest people not go out at night or avoid certain neighborhoods because of the color of the inhabitants’ skin. This is a lesson for everyone: don’t believe anything you read on a plane.