Chinese authorities have reportedly given an order to local budget hotels in Guangzhou city to turn away guests from five countries they have deemed to be “Muslim majority.” Interestingly, large budget hotel chains and upmarket hotels were not included in the alleged ban.
Several budget hotels in the southern city have claimed to have been notified by the police back in March to reject visitors from Pakistan, Syria, Iraq, Turkey, and Afghanistan until September 10, reported the South China Morning Post. According to the hotel workers interviewed by news agencies, no explanation was provided
“I’m not clear of the reason. We just can’t take them,” a hotel worker told Reuters.
While many hotel employees have confirmed such reports, the country’s foreign ministry has denied the existence and knowledge of a ban.
During a press briefing, foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang denied knowledge of such restrictions.
“I’ve never heard that there is this policy being followed in China,” Lu was quoted as saying. “Moreover, as far as China is concerned, our policy in principle is that we encourage people from China and other countries to have friendly exchanges and are willing to provide various convenient policies in this regard.”
Incidentally, a regional development forum is currently being held in Guangzhou which started on August 25 and is set to finish around the time the G20 summit will start in the beginning of September in Hangzhou some 620 miles away.
Local media is linking the two events as possible reason for the rule with fears of a possible terrorist attack among the major concerns during the summit. High profile world leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama, are set to attend the event and observers speculate that it is part of a security measure.
Strict security and traffic control is being enforced in Hangzhou, essentially shutting the city down for the week of the summit. The preparation has left businesses closed and caused major traffic jams on the roads. Locals were also given off days from work and even encouraged to temporarily leave the city.