A hotel in the Chinese city of Shenzhen has denied a report that it charged US guests an extra 25 per cent amid an escalating trade war between Washington and Beijing.
- Washington published new proposed tariffs on an additional $271b worth of Chinese goods
- Official Chinese statements this week accused the US of “bullying” and starting the trade war
- China issued strict guidelines to its media barring personal attacks on Donald Trump, sources say
However, three staff members, who declined to be identified, said a discriminatory rate policy had indeed been posted at the hotel as of Thursday but had since been removed.
According to The Global Times, which is published by the ruling Communist Party’s People’s Daily, the Modern Classic Hotel Group had put up a notice at its hotel informing guests of the extra charge.
“The US provoked a trade war; we vowed to accompany it to the end,” the notice reportedly read.
The Global Times had cited a spokesperson for the hotel surnamed Yang, saying the hotel had posted the notice last week.
“We have no idea where this news came from,” Bai Lulu, a front office manager, told Reuters at the hotel.
“My phone has been ringing off the hook all day today.
“We treat all our guests equally. We wouldn’t charge one type of guest more than another type of guest,” they said, adding that the hotel did not currently have any American guests.
However, another staff member, declining to be identified, said there had indeed been notices saying Americans would be charged extra.
“There were ads up yesterday in the restaurant stating Americans would be charged 25 per cent extra. We took photos,” they said.
The Global Times had cited Yang as saying their boss was “really angry about the endless tariffs the US planned to impose on China”.
But US customers did not display any particular reaction to the notice, they added.
“They just paid the 25 per cent higher room charge without asking anything,” the spokesperson said.
People answering the phone today at numbers on the hotel’s website said they were unaware of the policy.
There has been little public evidence to date of anti-American activity in China as the trade dispute has grown increasingly bitter.
The United States and China each imposed a 25 per cent tariff on $US34 billion ($46 billion) worth of the other’s goods on July 6.
This week, Washington published a new set of proposed tariffs on an additional $US200 billion ($270 billion) worth of goods from China, further escalating the conflict.
“Chinese public sentiment towards the US is becoming more sensitive” after Washington’s latest tariff threats, the hawkish tabloid said in its report.
Several sources said China issued strict guidelines to its media barring personal attacks on US President Donald Trump and limiting open commentary, in an apparent attempt to avoid unintentional escalation.
Authorities were also censoring potentially sensitive items on social media such as Weibo, China’s Twitter-like service, where trade-related items have been mostly kept off the list of top trending topics.
Official Chinese statements this week have taken a sharper tone, accusing the United States of “bullying” and starting the trade war.