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World Duty Free should apologize for discriminatory scheme against Chinese at Heathrow Airport

By Curtis Stone (People's Daily Online)    16:25, February 12, 2018

Recently, reports have surfaced that Chinese travelers at a World Duty Free shop at Heathrow Airport in London have been treated unfairly, sparking fierce outrage on social media.

The controversy revolves around allegations that a shop run by the World Duty Free, the largest travel retailer in the United Kingdom, at Heathrow Airport Terminal 2, had raised the minimum purchase price for Chinese travelers to enjoy discounts.

Chinese travelers had to spend 1,000 pounds to receive a VIP voucher for 20 percent off a future shopping trip at the store, whereas customers of other nationalities could get the same coupon after spending 250 pounds.

CGTN reported that the unfair treatment came to light on Saturday, when a firsthand account was published by a Weibo user and then shared by an online magazine on Weibo and instant messaging app WeChat.

The part-time employee at the shop said he witnessed how Chinese travelers were treated unfairly, but did not learn about the policy until he complained to the store manager, who explicitly said the policy was applied only to shoppers who were departing to China.

News of the discriminatory scheme quickly spread on social media, triggering outrage among the Chinese people. In response to the incident, World Duty Free issued an “official statement” on its Weibo account.

“We are grateful for the comments shared on social media today regarding our VIP voucher scheme,” the statement said. “We have investigated this straight away and have identified an issue which we have corrected with immediate effect. The program applies regardless of the destination customers are flying to.”

Though World Duty Free issued an “official statement,” it has yet to issue a sincere apology to the Chinese people, triggering even more of a backlash on social media. “We demand an apology, not a statement,” a Weibo user commented.

In addition, World Duty Free posted a Chinese New Year promotion on its Twitter account. “Discover the Gucci Chinese New Year exclusive sunglasses,” it read. The post has attracted many comments, with many calling the shop “racist” and demanding “a sincere apology” to the Chinese people.

“Please celebrate Chinese New Year after you apologize for discriminating [against] Chinese customers,” one Twitter user said. “Celebrating Chinese New Year by being racist with Chinese customers,” a different user said. “Shame on you!”

The tweet has since been deleted. But the Chinese people are still waiting for an apology.

Related: Netizens angry over allegations of discriminatory policies against Chinese shoppers at Heathrow Airport

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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