Caixin
Apr 11, 2017 06:38 PM
SOCIETY & CULTURE

United Airlines Passenger Removal Creates Outrage on China Internet

(Beijing) — A video of a man being dragged off an overbooked United Airlines flight — later quoted saying he was singled out because he was Chinese — has gone viral in China, where some netizens were calling for an investigation and others for a boycott of the U.S. carrier.

The one-minute video was the top trending topic Tuesday afternoon on Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter, with 120 million views. The video shows a man with a bloody nose being forcibly removed by police from the flight from Chicago to Louisville, Kentucky, after he refused to leave when asked due to overbooking.

United issued an apology, calling the incident an “upsetting event to all of us.”

“We are also reaching out to this passenger to talk directly to him and further address and resolve this situation,” United CEO Oscar Munoz said in a statement on the airline’s website.

Some passengers reportedly heard the man saying he was being removed because he was Chinese, according to media reports, citing other passengers who were on the plane at the time.

One internet commentator on Weibo said it was “awful” to see what happened to the man.

“Who else would dare to take a flight with United Airlines?” said the user identified as Yutu Miki.

Another Weibo user named DuxingxiaH wondered if the passenger would have received the same treatment if he were white rather than Chinese. The best way to deal with overbooking is to entice latecomers to leave, the commentator added.

A third commentator named Wang Jingen Blue called for a boycott of United for its behavior.

Contact reporter Yang Ge (geyang@caixin.com)

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