• Fri
  • Oct 17, 2014
  • Updated: 2:28am
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 February, 2013, 11:01am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 February, 2013, 11:30am

Outrage after Chinese men on Air France flight take wine bottles 'to go'


Amy Li began her journalism career as a crime news reporter in Queens, New York, in 2004. She joined Reuters in Beijing in 2008 as a multimedia editor. Amy taught journalism at Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in Chengdu before joining SCMP in Hong Kong in 2012. She is now an online news editor for SCMP.com. Amy can be reached at chunxiao.li@scmp.com, or follow her on Twitter @AmyLiSCMP

Two Chinese men on an Air France flight recently shocked their fellow passengers by snatching eight bottles of wine from the airline service cart, ignoring objections from other travellers on board.

Wen Fei, a Chinese woman who works in Paris, wrote on  weibo, China’s Twitter-like service, about her encounters with the two men who sat near her on flight AF132 from Paris to China’s central Wuhan city on Friday. 

Wen said she tried to stop them after they each took at least eight bottles of wine and stowed them in their bags - without asking the flight crew.

“I explained to them it was not OK and interpreted the flight attendents' explanation in French, but they said it was none of my business, ” Wen told SCMP.com on Tuesday.

The two men, apparently drunk, then shouted at Wen in the Wuhan dialect, she said.

“They asked me to back off if I ever wanted to leave Wuhan in one piece,” said Wen.

The pilot later interfered and asked the men to stop fighting with Wen, she said.   

“This kind of behaviour is demeaning for the Chinese travelling abroad,” she said.

Wen also posted a picture she had secretly taken of one of the two men. The photo shows a middle-aged man wearing glasses and well-dressed. 

Wen’s post struck a chord with many netizens who said they, too, find the behaviour of some Chinese travellers appalling.

“The Chinese are always loud and jump queues to get on a flight – even when everyone has a seat,” said a netizen.

“They are used to ‘stealing’ from people in China and now they start applying that habit elsewhere,” commented another netizen, implying the two men might be powerful Wuhan officials.  

The identities of the two men remain unknown.

Air France didn’t respond to the South China Morning Post’s request for an interview on Tuesday.

In a separate incident in China’s southwestern Yunnan province, a local CPPCC member and businessman, Yan Linkun, was caught on camera throwing a temper tantrum and smashing an airport check-in counter after he missed the deadline for boarding.

Yan has apologised to the airport and was suspended from his work, said reports from Chinese media. 


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The good thing about the "ugly Chinese" incidents is that other Chinese people react, in one way or the other. Education needs to start with the people. Way to go. Otherwise, what can you expect of the image of Chinese travelers in the eyes of the world, with over 80 million going abroad last year?
lauyukeung - Your point is valid in principle. In the real world, however, most people judge based on perception, generalization, and profiling, especially when it comes to people from different ethnicity or background. The challenge is when there are over tens of millions mainland Chinese traveling, working, and studying abroad. Even a fraction of such population misbehave, it becomes a reality to other people's eyes. Once perception and stereotype are formed, it would take an even longer time for the image to break and it would take just one incident to enforce it again. As a person who moved to the US from HK at a young age, I can tell you stereotypes and how they impact people's daily decisions in the States are very prevalent. China has many challenges on its hands, but I hope the leadership will understand the importance and impact of perception and the damage some of its people are doing to the country. A perfect case study is Hong Kong - mainland Chinese relationship. If China does not roll out comprehensive social education to the broader public and enforcement methods to correct behaviors aside from education in schools, which will most likely benefit the very young, China can say good-bye to its 'soft power' ambition. Countries may like your money but they do not need to like your people. The sooner some in mainland China realize that anti-Chinese sentiment is not mainly in HK but in other countries as well, the sooner mannerism is placed as a high priority.
what a chump you are. it's not how much they took, but the fact they took it that was the point. didn't your parents teach you any basic manners?
Thugs, thugs, thugs.
Is this what the new China all about? No. The vast majority of the Chinese people are kind, caring, and respectful
A fish stinks from the head. Leaders in China have to behave properly, show respect for law and order, for themselves, and for the people around them.
These Chinese thugs with their ill gotten wealth are showing off at home and abroad. We should confront them and correct them, so that they know that their behavior is wrong.
hard times !
it is indeed a shame to all Chinese in the world, especially those live on Mainland China where greed and dishonesty have both become a norm of lifestyle or a symbol of moral decline, to be sure. Rising as the No.2 world economic power and the No.1 military power is nothing if her wealth doesn't bring along with civilized manners in public places, especially in foreign lands ! How can you expect other nationalities to respect you if you don't respect yourself/ yourselves ? These two guys from Wuhan are a shame to themselves and all Chinese indeed !
Why didn't the airline contact authorities and have the two men arrested for theft upon arrival in Wuhan?
Hope the netizens in mainland will identify and post the names and background of these two morons!!!
There may be payback already; my last time in Paris, at a sidewalk cafe, a mainland couple grabbed the elbow of a waiter to get his attention from another table. After the very short conversation the waiter and staff then purposely ignored the couple for the remaining 45 minutes I was there....
"“They asked me to back off if I ever wanted to leave Wuhan in one piece,” said Wen."
after a couple of days in Wuhan being cut into pieces would be a blessed relief
This guy looks not a poor guy and educated people.
But many Chinese are lack of morality or dignity.
I can easily understand what they thought, "if I don't take it, it is my loss. I prefer I don't lost any thing so I take it whatever the value it is and whatever it I need it"
Most Chinese people think this way.
I grew up in China and I am now in HK and travel a lot so I can think of Chinese in two ways.
During culture revolution, China destroyed all things including morality and respect of people, culture and nature.
Doing something for themselves are more safe than doing for other people.
China is getting rich but not basing on fairness. Unless they change the system.
I don't see any hope that they can do right things by themselves.




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