×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Racism Allegations in United Airlines Scandal Fire Up Chinese Social Media

Chinese Internet users are calling for a boycott of United Airlines, after videos of an Asian passenger being forcibly removed from a U.S. aircraft went viral on social media platforms across China.

Posts from official media accounts and from private citizens were quickly seen trending on platforms including Sina Weibo (akin to a Chinese version of Twitter) and on messaging platform WeChat, which has over 800 million users worldwide.

An April 9 flight from Chicago O’Hare to Louisville was overbooked and after a call for volunteers to leave the plane, the airline and local police forcibly removed passengers. Videos show an Asian man, reportedly a medical doctor, removed from his seat and dragged, bloodied and apparently unconscious along the central aisle.

Many pointed not only to United’s ill treatment of the passenger, but also charged the airline with racist treatment of Asians. Others said that the police and airline brutality exposed
American lies about freedom and equality. (The video surfaced the same day as Amnesty International criticized China for its high number of state executions.)

A topic page on Sina Weibo had attracted more than 77 million views and 5.2 million discussion threads by early Tuesday afternoon. Official media, including People’s Daily, and the Sina video channel have also been carrying the news. Shenzhen Airlines set up an online poll of Weibo users’ seeking their views on the scandal.

Many Weibo users said the move was insulting and disrespectful, arguing that United Airlines deliberately targeted an Asian man because Asians are stereotyped as timid and unlikely to stand up for their rights.

Gao Dinyuan, a member of the Binzhou city Internet culture association, wrote in a Weibo post: “Where’s the freedom and equality that [America] promised? Where’s promise of the acceptance of people in different colors? Are these just political lies from American politicians?”

One of the WeChat posts by MetroChinese drew more than 100,000 views. Many users responded by calling for boycott of United Airlines. “What if all Asians boycott United Airlines? Will that airline collapse?,” one of the users wrote.

“United began nonstop service to China in 1986 and today has twice as many routes between China and the mainland U.S. as any other U.S. airline, with 96 weekly departures,” the airline claimed in May last year, before adding a new service connecting the high-tech hubs of San Francisco and Hangzhou.

 

More Digital

  • BuzzFeed logo

    BuzzFeed Set to Lay Off 15% of Its Employees

    BuzzFeed is slashing its workforce by 15% in a move to boost the internet-media company’s profitability and “focus on content that is working,” according to a memo from CEO Jonah Peretti sent to staffers Wednesday. The cuts will be made next week, according to Peretti’s memo. BuzzFeed has about 1,450 employees worldwide, so around 218 [...]

  • Verizon New Logo

    Verizon Media Laying Off 800 Employees, or 7% of Staff in AOL and Yahoo Group

    Verizon is cutting 7% of the employees in its media group, or around 800 staffers in the division that combined AOL and Yahoo. “This week, we will make changes that will impact around 7% of our global workforce across the organization, as well as certain brands and products,” Verizon Media Group CEO Guru Gowrappan wrote in [...]

  • cheddar

    Cheddar Now on All U.S. OTT Streaming Services, Preps Primetime Programming Block

    Video-news startup Cheddar is launching its live-streaming news networks on Sony’s PlayStation Vue, making it the first content provider to span all over-the-top subscription services in the U.S. The company, founded in 2016, operates two networks — the newly rebranded Cheddar Business, positioned as a CNBC-style financial and business network for millennials, and Cheddar News, [...]

  • Avi Saxena - Discovery

    Discovery Hires Amazon's Avi Saxena as CTO of Direct-to-Consumer Unit, Will Open Seattle Office

    Discovery hired Avi Saxena, former VP of technology for Amazon Marketplace, as chief technology officer of direct-to-consumer. Saxena reports to the guy who was his boss at Amazon: Peter Faricy, who was appointed CEO of Discovery’s Global Direct-to-Consumer division in August 2018 and who headed up the Amazon Marketplace third-party seller business. In the newly created [...]

  • Spaces Terminatro VR Experience Goes Live

    Comcast-Backed Spaces Launches San Jose Location With 'Terminator' VR Experience

    Comcast-backed virtual reality startup Spaces is getting ready to open its second California location in San Jose next month: The company has teamed up with Cinemark to open a new VR center at the Century 20 Oakridge and XD theatre in San Jose on February 8. The new Cinemark Spaces center will open with “Fight for [...]

  • Sean Hannity Reveals Broadband Plans for

    Sean Hannity Reveals His Plans for Fox News Streaming Service (EXCLUSIVE)

    Sean Hannity sometimes tells younger colleagues at Fox News Channel that he is “the bridge between two generations of Fox” because he has been part of its primetime lineup since 1996. Now he may serve a similar purpose for a third. Fox News will next week bring Hannity to the world of video-streaming, launching “Hannity [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content