Saturday, November 29, 2014

• China: Beijing store 'bans Chinese customers'

A clothes shop in Beijing has caused an outcry after putting up a sign banning Chinese customers, it's been reported.

The store is embroiled in a racism row after posting a sign which reads: "Chinese not admitted, except for staff", the official Beijing Youth Daily reports. 

By way of explanation, one of the shop's employees tells the paper some Chinese customers are "too annoying" and that "Chinese women often try lots of clothes but end up buying nothing." The shop was also forced to pay a foreign customer $5,000 (£3,170) after his wallet was stolen, and surveillance camera footage showed a Chinese customer was responsible, the employee says. But another member of staff suggests the ban is actually to prevent rivals from copying the shop's clothing designs.

The sign has caused uproar on Chinese social media sites, with one Weibo user asking: "Is this still China?" The disbelief was shared by others on the site. "Bullying on my own doorstep," says one person, who wonders why the owners would open a shop in China if they don't want Chinese customers. "This type of shop should be closed down," declares another Weibo user. But a legal expert tells the Beijing Youth Daily that while the sign is discriminatory, the shop's owner hasn't broken the law because China doesn't have a legal ban on racial discrimination.

Clothing shop in Chinese capital has angered domestic customers by banning them from entering the store

The only Chinese people allowed in the store are staff members Photo: GETTY

A shop in Beijing has sparked uproar by banning Chinese customers.

A fashion store in an upmarket shopping district in Beijing has put up a sign saying "Chinese not admitted (except for staff)," according to the Beijing Youth Daily.

One employee told the newspaper that the ban had been put in place after the shop was forced to pay a foreign customer $5,000 (£3,170) after his wallet was stolen by another shopper, who was later revealed by CCTV footage to be Chinese.

He added that Chinese customers were also "too annoying" as they often buy nothing after trying on lots of clothes.

But another worker said the ban was intended to prevent copycat designers stealing their ideas.

The shop is located on the Yabao Road, an area known for attracting foreign shoppers, especially those from Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe.

Shops in the same area have treated foreign customers preferentially in the past, according to the Beijing Youth Daily, by hanging signs saying "Visitors not admitted" in Chinese, but "Welcome" in English.

A social media storm has erupted over the sign, with people taking to Weibo - China's equivalent to Twitter - to brand the shop a "bully" and demand that it be closed.

However the Beijing Youth Daily reported that the shop's owner has not acted illegally since there is no Chinese law prohibiting racial discrimination.