Chinese hotel accused of flying Japanese military flag issues apology

The hotel, located across the street from a local police precinct in Anyang city, hastily withdrew the flag after criticism flooded Weibo on Friday

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 28 September, 2013, 2:52pm
UPDATED : Monday, 30 September, 2013, 4:43pm

A hotel in China’s central Henan province was forced to apologise after angry net users accused it of flying a banner resembling the "Rising Sun Flag" used by the Japanese army when they invaded China during the Second World War.

The hotel, sitting across the street from a local police precinct in Anyang city, hastily dismantled the flag on Friday after criticism flooded China's blogosphere.

A spokesperson explained that the controversial piece of cloth was meant to dispel evil spirits and bring good fortune for the recently-opened business. The hotel had adopted advice to display the flag from a feng-shui master following the sudden death of a shareholder prior to its grand opening in August, he said.

And despite the resemblance, the hotel also pointed out that their "good luck banner" had a yellow background, instead of the white used in the Japanese flag.

Qin Yongmin, a Beijing-based lawyer told the Beijing Times that the hotel had violated advertising laws by promoting a message that “compromises the country’s reputation and hurts the nation’s feelings”.

A police investigation has been launched.

This is not the first time the appearance of the Japanese military flag has caused trouble in China. Popular movie star and singer Zhao Wei was forced to apologise in 2001 after posing in a dress with a design that resembled the military flag in a magazine photoshoot in New York City, causing a national outcry.

Relations between China and Japan have deteriorated further during recent months following territorial disputes over the Diaoyu Islands, known as the Senkakus, in Japan.