Not only the Chinese are angry over this week’s incident in which an Asian-American passenger was beat up and pulled off a United Airlines flight – now all of Asia is pissed off.
Netizens and press in China, Vietnam, South Korea and Japan are outraged over the recent assault on United Airlines passenger David Dao. Japan’s major airlines have even chimed in, saying such violence would never occur on their airplanes.
It was initially thought that Dao was Chinese-American, but now it is emerging that his name is Vietnamese – and that has Vietnamese netizens clamoring for justice for the man.
Fury has erupted in Vietnam over the treatment of the passenger, after it was uncoverd that the man is of Vietnamese heritage. The passenger, a 69-year-old David Dao doctor, had been asked to leave the flight after it had been overbooked. After refusing, security officers manhandled him, and a viral video showed blood pouring out of the man’s mouth as officers dragged him off the aircraft.
“Watching this makes my blood boil, I’ll never fly United Airlines,” commented Anh Trang Khuya on Facebook, as reported by Reuters.
Nguyen Khac Huy wrote: “Boycott United!!! This is excessive!” Reuters reported.
Social media in Vietnam has seen many such posts over the incident.
Dao was initially thought to be of Chinese origin, and over the past few days, Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, has seen over 200 million posts of people furious over the incident.
South Koreans are also outraged, as Korean netizens in recent days have lambasted United, with Facebook users in Korea sharing the viral video.
Not to be left out are major Japanese carriers All Nippon Airways Co. (ANA) and Japan Airlines Co. (JAL), which chimed in on the issue, saying such violence due to overbooking would never occur on one of their flights.
In the case of overbooking, the two major airlines said they would ask for volunteers to give up their seats in exchange for some form of compensation.
“We would never drag our customers off our planes. That is unimaginable,” a JAL spokesman told The Japan Times. “We ask passengers to voluntarily give up their seats. If nobody does, then we just keep asking until we find one.”
An ANA spokesman told the Japan Times that the airline asks passengers for cooperation in exchange for payments.
United CEO Oscar Munoz said Dao had become “disruptive,” although on many airlines simply standing up for one’s consumer rights and calmly arguing ones case can get a passenger branded as disruptive and result in being thrown off the flight and even detained.
Critics are questioning why police used such forced with an elderly man, as the video shows blood streaming out of the victim’s mouth as fellow passengers protest in horror and disgust.
It’s never wise for any company to piss off a country with 1.3 billion people. But United has done just that, and many Chinese are now calling for a boycott of the Chicago-based airline.
Despite the revelation that Dao is of Vietnamese origin, that may not matter now in China, as emotions are running high over the issue. Indeed, neighboring Korea’s netizens – which has seen some businesses hurt by a China-Korea dispute over the THAAD deployment – is up in arms over the incident, although Dao is not Korean.
United’s stock has plummeted in recent days, losing around $1 billion.
United has a massive stake in China, and controls 20 percent routes from the United States to China, including direct flights from Washington, San Francisco, Chicago and Newark (just outside of New York City). United has also recently established direct flights outside of hubs such as Beijing, to Chengdu and Xian.
China is now the no. 5 destination for U.S. tourists, and most of the traffic growth between the two nations is from China.
According to Boyd Group International, a strategic aviation solutions and planning company, the number of Chinese tourists coming to the United States every year will climb by a whopping 6.5 million by 2002 – nearly three times the 2.4 million Chinese tourists traveling to the United States in 2015. In short, the next five years will see a total of around 23 million Chinese tourists in the United States.
Some media in South Korea and elsewhere in Asia is reporting that three of four passengers asked to leave the flight were Asians, although Borderless News Online cannot confirm this. Determining which passengers are asked to leave in due to overbooking is based on a number of factors, including frequent flier miles.
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