United passenger's removal sparks outrage in China

BEIJING — Images of a bloodied man being forcibly removed from a United Airlines flight in Chicago drew widespread condemnation in China, where state media fueled the public's anger with reports that noted the unidentified victim was an "Asian passenger."

Video of the violent incident posted on China's popular Twitter-like microblogging service Weibo had been viewed more than 210 million times by late Tuesday. Many responded with outrage over perceived bias against the passenger and some called for a boycott of the U.S.-based airline.

"Rubbish!" writer Su Danqing posted on Weibo. "When they were treating this Asian man, they never thought of human rights, otherwise they wouldn't have done it that way."

"Damn it! This airline must be boycotted!" said a posting from Liu Bing, a telecommunications company worker.

United does considerable business with Chinese passengers and a consumer boycott could cause it serious pain. United says it operates more nonstop U.S.-China flights to more cities in China than any other airline.

Rowdiness has long been associated with air travel in China, including passengers getting into fights with crew members and a vicious assault last year in which an enraged customer smashed an airline check-in clerk in the head with a brass plaque.

The United incident appeared to feed into such customer frustrations — only this time the tables were turned and the passenger was cast as the victim.

United executives struggled to control the public relations damage.

Airline CEO Oscar Munoz said the unidentified man removed from the Chicago-to-Kentucky flight had become "disruptive and belligerent" after he was asked to leave the plane to make room for several employees of a partner airline who wanted on the flight.

When the man refused, officers from the Chicago Aviation Department came in and first tried to reason with him before pulling him from his seat by force and dragging him away, according to a passenger, Tyler Bridges, whose wife later posted a video of the altercation on Facebook.

___

Associated Press news assistant Yu Bing contributed to this report.

Must Read

Warhol 'Mao' painting sold for $12.6 million in...

Apr 3, 2017

US-AUCTION-SOTHEBYS-WARHOL:Warhol 'Mao' painting sold for $12.6 million in Hong Kong

Property agents shut, buyers still hunt as China...

Apr 3, 2017

US-CHINA-ECONOMY-PROPERTY:Property agents shut, buyers still hunt as China plans new economic zone

Zhang Yimou says 'Great Wall' story may have been...

May 10, 2017

Zhang Yimou says the disappointing U.S. performance of the biggest budget China-U.S. co-production...

Moody's China downgrade 'illogical', overstates...

May 25, 2017

US-CHINA-ECONOMY-RATING:Moody's China downgrade 'illogical', overstates debt: People's Daily

Computer wins 2nd game against Chinese go champion

May 25, 2017

A computer that plays go has won a second game against China's top player in a match authorities...

Sign up now!