Chinese draw Sweden parallels after police claim they helped foreign tourists

Social media users quick to make nationalist comparisons after police in Henan post account of how they dealt with backpackers

PUBLISHED : Friday, 05 October, 2018, 3:10pm
UPDATED : Friday, 05 October, 2018, 3:24pm

Chinese internet users have been making comparisons between a police force’s account of how they treated a group of foreign tourists in central China and the recent eviction of a Chinese family from a hotel in Sweden.

Police in Henan province posted a since-deleted account on social media saying officers had come to the aid of a group of foreigners who were “not willing to leave” a hotel lobby on Thursday, before “escorting” them to another hotel.

Police in Luoyang city, a popular jumping off point for tourist attractions like the Longmen Caves and Shaolin Monastery, said they had received a call from a hotel employee yesterday morning reporting that a group of foreign tourists were still in the lobby after being told they could not check in.

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The hotel was unable to accommodate the large group of foreigners due to over capacity, according to the police statement, but did not say whether they had a reservation.

The force said it had called in a translator and helped to take the group to another hotel.

Once they were settled in their new hotel, the tourists, who appear to be young backpackers, “took a group photo to mark the occasion” with police.

The police later posted the photos on their official Weibo account along with a statement giving officers’ account of events.

The post has since been removed, although a couple of local media outlets published screenshots of the post and reproduced the police statement without providing further details.

But the story continues to echo on the Chinese social media, where internet users picked up on it to draw contrasts between the police’s account and claims that Chinese tourists are sometimes mistreated abroad.

Recently a Chinese family that refused to leave a Swedish hotel lobby was forcibly removed by police and dropped off outside the town in front of what the Chinese state media termed a Stockholm “graveyard”.

The family had arrived at midnight having only made a reservation for the following day and asked to wait in the lobby overnight.

Footage of one man screaming at police officers outside the hostel was posted online, prompting a diplomatic row in which China demanded an apology from Sweden for “brutally abusing” its tourists.

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The Swedish incident drew widespread condemnation in China, with more than 130 million views and 85,000 posts on microblogging site Weibo on the topic.

The incident in Luoyang prompted another outpouring of nationalistic sentiment.

“We should carry them to a famous graveyard,” one Chinese internet user commented, adding “are there no translators in Sweden?”

“Sharp contrast,” quipped another.

“Giving the world a model, let the Swedish police look at the quality of the East,” said one other netizen.

Posts about the Luoyang police’s account of the incident generated several thousand comments and over 100,000 likes and shares in a day.