• Sat
  • Dec 27, 2014
  • Updated: 3:56am
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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This article is now closed to comments

The bottles of wine served on planes are mini-bottles, certainly not full-sized.
i presume you don't think there is a problem if the same guy drank 8 bottles of 50 mL wine? how is this different from the guy took 8 bottles? i am NOT approving either behavior but bad behavior is not unique to chinese. if you fly enough, you will see bad behavior is common among american also and i am not going to jump up and down ....
I do not agree with you.
I am Chinese, and I am ashamed by these behavior. We should put a stop to this.
How the Americans behavior is their business.
Savages. That's what we call them. The Chinese have their own terms for them too.
China is certainly suitable, yet not ready for democracy. The wines are free for consumption on board, and certainly not to be taken away.
@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.
I think 100 years of colonialism does indeed create a huge difference in culture but more importantly the differences between society and accepted social norms in HK and China greatly differ. Generally people in HK are much more civilised in contrast those that have always lived in mainland China. Many Chinese fled the mainland to escape cultural genocide and to live a life free from communism. I don't deny there is corruption in HK but in mainland China it is rampant. Having worked there for over three years I can assure you that cheating and stealing is common practice throughout all industries. More to your point although Hkers are from the same ethnic background there are huge differences in the way they behave and conduct themselves. A lot of Hk chinese abroad disassociate themselves from mainland chinese and quite rightly so. They were born and grew up with the same democracies as people from democratic countries. To say there isn't a difference between these two societies is ignorant.
difficult to resist mainland bashing when you read reports like this...eight bottles is extreme and then to utter threats - who do they think they are? Definite victims of their own delusions of grandeur. @Lauyukeung - citing history as a reason for this kind of public behaviour is nonsense. It is typical of many wealthy mainlanders to do as they please in their own country - the law doesn't apply to them because they can buy their way out of trouble. You're right though, these two pigs are not a true representative of the poor Chinese majority and by your own logic they are obviously well-off and yet seemingly unable to act as a privileged citizen should - are you saying that the poor in China are more accustomed to foreign etiquette or that poverty makes them better people? As you put it we shouldn't get angry but rather be patient as we wait for the 'New Chinese' to stop stealing and spreading their primitive standards for the world to see? I think this has nothing to do with history or culture - this is a clear example of corruption and the behaviour it exudes.
I would like to believe it is one of the China-bashing propaganda.
my god, Hong Kongers are such bigots, having lived in Hong Kong I know this for a fact, get off your high horse for god's sake, so yes, your from Hong Kong, but what about your parents,your grandparents, your great grandparents kk? whenever Hong Kongers insult mainlanders, you are in essence damning your own ethnic background, bc ETHNICALLY you are chinese. To your point I lived in Hong Kong and was born and grew up in Toronto, Canada, where there's a huge population of Hong Kongers who live in the suburbs, I can assure you, Hong Kong individuals need better social education too, as many of them are also rude, loud, bigoted indivuals who believe they're better in comparison to their "Mainland Counterparts" and living in the U.S. I know for a fact that most people don't really make the distinction between HK and Mainland China




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