Police deny bar owners' claims of restrictions on blacks in Sanlitun

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 July, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 July, 2008, 12:00am

Police in Beijing's popular Sanlitun bar district deny they are conducting a racist campaign ahead of the Olympics, as another bar owner revealed he had been ordered not to let in blacks.

'They made us sign and chop a document saying we would not allow black people in [during the Olympics],' the owner said. 'But no one is willing to say so because we'll all get deported ... and have our business shut.'

Asked yesterday whether they had told landlords not to let blacks in bars, an officer at the Sanlitun police station had a one-word answer: 'No.'

The bar owner said police had given landlords a list of dos and don'ts during the Olympics. 'We simply can't let them in [during the Olympics], it's what I was told,' he said.

'It's [the restrictions on blacks] definitely happening. It will all happen in 24 hours.'

His revelation comes after the Post reported yesterday how another bar owner had been verbally warned by Public Security Bureau officers not to serve customers of Mongolian and African descent, while other bars had been ordered to sign chopped pledges to keep to curfews, not allow the illegal sale of drugs, and refuse certain customers.

'They [local police] call meetings, and everyone has to go, or else ... If you don't go, they'll come back and shut you down,' he said. Further investigation found that not all bars in the newly revamped area known for its nightlife had been ordered to refuse black customers, suggesting police are targeting specific bars.

'Black guys can come in and drink as long as they have valid visas,' another bar manager in Sanlitun said. 'But we have been told to watch out for black guys acting suspiciously, such as constantly talking on their mobile phones. The aim is to crack down on drug dealing.'

Tony Perkins, an African-American sports presenter for China Central Television, said he had not experienced any racism during his six months in China while working for the state TV station, but he said he was concerned by the bar owners' complaints.

'If this is policy, then it is a very bad policy - more so for a country holding an Olympics,' he said.