A #ChineseLivesMatter petition has gained more than 113,000 supporters after an Asian man was forcefully booted off an overbooked United Airlines flight, although he has been identified as a Vietnamese-American from Kentucky.
Initial reports said the grandfather, who has been identified as Dr. David Dao, was quoted by another passenger as saying, “I’m being elected because I’m Chinese”, before police officers dragged him from his seat on a flight from Chicago to Louisville so airline employees could get seats.
The incident, which left Dao bloodied and disoriented, didn’t stop more than 113,000 people from signing a #ChineseLivesMatter petition on the White House’s petition page pushing for a federal investigation.
Chinese netizens have also called for a boycott of United, with thousands of online users vowing never to fly on the airline ever again, according to Shanghaiist.
Some even took to Weibo to post photos of themselves canceling or taking a pair of scissors to their United membership cards.
Footage of the incident has also been viewed more than 330 million times on Weibo of #UnitedForcesPassengerOffPlane posts, with many calling it “racial discrimination”, according to South China Morning Post.
Weibo user Qian Qian commented: “If you beat your customers, we will thrash your reputation and your market share around the world, until we hear a sincere apology from your bleeding mouth.”
Chinese-American comedian Joe Wong didn’t hesitate to chime in.
“Many Chinese people feel they are racially discriminated against but don’t speak out for fear of losing face, causing Western mainstream media and the public to not take discrimination against Asians seriously,” Wong said.
The social media uproar has already caused United to lose more than $800 million in market value just one day after the scuffle.
The airline’s market cap dropped 3.7% from $22.5 billion to $21.7 billion by Tuesday.
China is the second largest aviation market in the world and a key market for United, which claims it “operates more nonstop US-China flights, and to more cities in China, than any other airline”, according to CNN.