|Beijing resto not for Filipinos et al. Photo by Mark Ralston, AFP
MANILA (UPDATED) – A restaurant in the Chinese tourist district of Houhai in Beijing refuses to serve Filipino, Japanese and Vietnamese customers – as well as dogs.
A photo from Agence France-Presse showed a cook working for an unidentified Houhai restaurant bearing the sign: "This shop does not receive the Japanese, the Philippines, the Vietnamese, and dog."
Website Beijing Cream identified the shop as "Beijing Snacks," and noted that it was a "bizarre example(s) of unhealthy nationalism" in light of the territorial disputes among China and the three other countries.
China, the Philippines and Vietnam are embroiled in a territorial dispute about the West Philippine Sea, while Japan is contesting ownership of islands in the East China Sea.
"This kind of sign would result in a hefty fine in most places and instant removal," said Johan U of Beijing Cream.
"But here, it's more likely that a restaurant gets in trouble for 'hurting the feelings of Chinese people' by referring to sensitive history," he added.
An isolated incident
Meantime, the Philippine government on Wednesday said it is treating as an isolated incident a Beijing restaurant's refusal to serve Filipinos and other customers from countries locked in maritime territorial disputes with China.
In a press conference, Foreign Affairs Spokesman Raul Hernandez said the Philippine government is aware of the photos posted on social networking sites of the restaurant in Beijing.
Asked about the controversy, Hernandez said: "We think the notice that was posted on that shop in Beijing is a private view about the whole situation that is happening between the Philippines and China."
"We hope it is not state policy not to allow Filipinos in restaurants in Beijing," he added.
Hernandez said the Department of Foreign Affairs has not received any reports of racism against Filipinos in Beijing.
He said there are no discussions yet on issuing an advisory to Filipinos in Beijing who might be exposed to racism due to the brewing maritime row over the West Philippine Sea.
"We will see how it will play out but so far this is just an isolated incident. This is the first time that such an incident was reported," he said.
A report by Radio Free Asia earlier quoted the Beijing restaurant's owner as saying that he put up the sign out of patriotism. "Chinese customers support me," the owner, identified as Wang, told BBC News.
China is currently embroiled in maritime disputes with Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines.