Chinese state media condemn ‘arrogant, cold-blooded’ United Airlines

Communist Party paper the People’s Daily joins the chorus of criticism in China after an Asian-American passenger was violently dragged off one of the carrier’s flights

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 April, 2017, 12:05pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 April, 2017, 1:17pm

China’s state media lambasted United Airlines as “arrogant and cold-blooded” after video went viral on Chinese state media of a passenger being dragged off a flight to make room for travelling airline staff.

“The old man’s screaming and blood on his face fully proves the brutality of security staff. And the airline’s response afterwards was arrogant and cold-blooded,” the People’s Daily, the Communist Party mouthpiece, said on its social media account.

“Who dares to fly with such an airline, which is supposed to uphold the values of taking care of people, but trampled over customers’ rights and interests?”

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United Airlines chief executive Oscar Munoz issued an apology on Tuesday over the treatment of the passenger who was dragged violently from one of the carrier’s flights on Sunday, calling the incident “truly horrific”.

The 69-year-old man was shown in video footage posted on social media being pulled by security officers from his window seat and dragged down the aisle on Sunday night as the plane was due to leave Chicago. The passenger was later shown with blood on his face.

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US media reported that the passenger was David Dao, a doctor. Initial reports suggested the man was a ­Chinese-American, but the BBC quoted another passenger as saying that he was Vietnamese and had lived in Kentucky for 20 years.

The wrath of the Chinese online community over the incident continued on Wednesday.

More than 600 million Chinese viewers had watched video of the incident by Wednesday morning on Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter.

United has about 20 per cent of US-China airline traffic and has a partnership with Air China, the third-largest Chinese airline, according to analysts.

It flies to more Chinese cities than other US airlines. The carrier last year started non-stop flights from San Francisco to Hangzhou, its fifth destination in mainland China.

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Many social media users in China have gone online to complain about their experiences with the airline.

One Chinese student studying at Cornell University in New York said she narrowly escaped being removed from a United Airlines flight after it was stuck at an airport in Newark for 27 hours last year, the Changjiang Daily reported.

She finally managed to fly, but only got US$10 in compensation for the delays, according to the report.

Additional reporting by Reuters