Air China magazine apologises over ‘racist’ article



BEIJING // The publisher of Chinese national carrier Air China’s in-flight magazine apologised on Thursday for allegedly “racist” travel advice offered to passengers visiting London, as mainland social media users rushed to defend the controversial tips.

The incident prompted London MP Virendra Sharma, who emigrated from India to Britain in the 1960s, to complain to the Chinese government, demanding an apology.

“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.

The latest issue of Wings of China ran an article detailing safety tips 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 article said in English translation below a Chinese text, 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,” it added.

The Chinese version was worded slightly differently, stating that such neighbourhoods were “comparatively more chaotic” – an adjective often used to describe dangerous areas.

The English translation prompted

In a Chinese-language statement on Thursday, the publisher attributed the “inappropriate descriptions” to editorial errors, stating that they were at odds with the “original intention to actively promote the beautiful scenery of London”.

It described itself as a third-party organisation, although Air China’s own website describes the magazine as “an authoritative information resource of Air China Group and Air China”.

The publisher apologised that the text had “misled” a number of media outlets and readers and damaged Air China’s brand image.

But on Chinese social media, most commenters were baffled 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?”

Another queried: “There are more rapists and robbers there anyway – why is saying this discriminatory?”

Many said they felt the advice was valuable.

“We can’t satisfy everyone, but we certainly must put Chinese people’s safety first,” one user stated.

Discussion and public awareness of racism in China is notoriously low, often resulting in viral scandals that spark global outrage beyond the Great Firewall but cause nary a whimper of concern within the mainland.

In May, an ad by a Chinese detergent maker depicting a black man stuffed into a washing machine and transformed into a fair-skinned Asian stoked outcry abroad, initially dismissed by the company as overly sensitive.

China often portrays itself as the victim of discrimination at the hands of foreign media, and many on Weibo expressed indignation at what they saw as hypocritical finger-pointing from those in the West.

“We don’t owe black people, Indians or Pakistanis anything; we never trafficked slaves or colonised India and Pakistan,” wrote one user.

* Agence France-Presse

UAE v West Indies

First ODI - Sunday, June 4
Second ODI - Tuesday, June 6
Third ODI - Friday, June 9

Matches at Sharjah Cricket Stadium. All games start at 4.30pm

UAE squad
Muhammad Waseem (captain), Aayan Khan, Adithya Shetty, Ali Naseer, Ansh Tandon, Aryansh Sharma, Asif Khan, Basil Hameed, Ethan D’Souza, Fahad Nawaz, Jonathan Figy, Junaid Siddique, Karthik Meiyappan, Lovepreet Singh, Matiullah, Mohammed Faraazuddin, Muhammad Jawadullah, Rameez Shahzad, Rohan Mustafa, Sanchit Sharma, Vriitya Aravind, Zahoor Khan

THE SPECS

Engine: AMG-enhanced 3.0L inline-6 turbo with EQ Boost and electric auxiliary compressor

Transmission: nine-speed automatic

Power: 429hp

Torque: 520Nm​​​​​​​

Price: Dh360,200 (starting)

TO CATCH A KILLER

Director: Damian Szifron

Stars: Shailene Woodley, Ben Mendelsohn, Ralph Ineson

Rating: 2/5

The National photo project

Chris Whiteoak, a photographer at The National, spent months taking some of Jacqui Allan's props around the UAE, positioning them perfectly in front of some of the country's most recognisable landmarks. He placed a pirate on Kite Beach, in front of the Burj Al Arab, the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland at the Burj Khalifa, and brought one of Allan's snails (Freddie, which represents her grandfather) to the Dubai Frame. In Abu Dhabi, a dinosaur went to Al Ain's Jebel Hafeet. And a flamingo was taken all the way to the Hatta Mountains. This special project suitably brings to life the quirky nature of Allan's prop shop (and Allan herself!).

WHY AAYAN IS 'PERFECT EXAMPLE'

David White might be new to the country, but he has clearly already built up an affinity with the place.

After the UAE shocked Pakistan in the semi-final of the Under 19 Asia Cup last month, White was hugged on the field by Aayan Khan, the team’s captain.

White suggests that was more a sign of Aayan’s amiability than anything else. But he believes the young all-rounder, who was part of the winning Gulf Giants team last year, is just the sort of player the country should be seeking to produce via the ILT20.

“He is a delightful young man,” White said. “He played in the competition last year at 17, and look at his development from there till now, and where he is representing the UAE.

“He was influential in the U19 team which beat Pakistan. He is the perfect example of what we are all trying to achieve here.

“It is about the development of players who are going to represent the UAE and go on to help make UAE a force in world cricket.” 

Specs: 2024 McLaren Artura Spider

Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 and electric motor
Max power: 700hp at 7,500rpm
Max torque: 720Nm at 2,250rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
0-100km/h: 3.0sec
Top speed: 330kph
Price: From Dh1.14 million ($311,000)
On sale: Now

MATCH INFO

Uefa Champions League semi-finals, first leg
Liverpool v Roma

When: April 24, 10.45pm kick-off (UAE)
Where: Anfield, Liverpool
Live: BeIN Sports HD
Second leg: May 2, Stadio Olimpico, Rome

Top 10 most competitive economies

1. Singapore
2. Switzerland
3. Denmark
4. Ireland
5. Hong Kong
6. Sweden
7. UAE
8. Taiwan
9. Netherlands
10. Norway

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Supy
Started: 2021
Founders: Dani El-Zein, Yazeed bin Busayyis, Ibrahim Bou Ncoula
Based: Dubai
Industry: Food and beverage, tech, hospitality software, Saas
Funding size: Bootstrapped for six months; pre-seed round of $1.5 million; seed round of $8 million
Investors: Beco Capital, Cotu Ventures, Valia Ventures and Global Ventures

Herc's Adventures

Developer: Big Ape Productions
Publisher: LucasArts
Console: PlayStation 1 & 5, Sega Saturn
Rating: 4/5

The specs

Engine: Single front-axle electric motor
Power: 218hp
Torque: 330Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Max touring range: 402km (claimed)
Price: From Dh215,000 (estimate)
On sale: September

Specs

Power train: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 and synchronous electric motor
Max power: 800hp
Max torque: 950Nm
Transmission: Eight-speed auto
Battery: 25.7kWh lithium-ion
0-100km/h: 3.4sec
0-200km/h: 11.4sec
Top speed: 312km/h
Max electric-only range: 60km (claimed)
On sale: Q3
Price: From Dh1.2m (estimate)

Company Profile

Company name: Namara
Started: June 2022
Founder: Mohammed Alnamara
Based: Dubai
Sector: Microfinance
Current number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Family offices

Rainbow

Kesha

(Kemosabe)

Ain Dubai in numbers

126: The length in metres of the legs supporting the structure

1 football pitch: The length of each permanent spoke is longer than a professional soccer pitch

16 A380 Airbuses: The equivalent weight of the wheel rim.

9,000 tonnes: The amount of steel used to construct the project.

5 tonnes: The weight of each permanent spoke that is holding the wheel rim in place

192: The amount of cable wires used to create the wheel. They measure a distance of 2,4000km in total, the equivalent of the distance between Dubai and Cairo.

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

Quick pearls of wisdom

Focus on gratitude: And do so deeply, he says. “Think of one to three things a day that you’re grateful for. It needs to be specific, too, don’t just say ‘air.’ Really think about it. If you’re grateful for, say, what your parents have done for you, that will motivate you to do more for the world.”

Know how to fight: Shetty married his wife, Radhi, three years ago (he met her in a meditation class before he went off and became a monk). He says they’ve had to learn to respect each other’s “fighting styles” – he’s a talk it-out-immediately person, while she needs space to think. “When you’re having an argument, remember, it’s not you against each other. It’s both of you against the problem. When you win, they lose. If you’re on a team you have to win together.”