China restaurant bans Asian maritime dispute citizens

Sign at a Beijing restaurant

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A Beijing restaurant is refusing to serve customers from three Asian neighbours currently involved in simmering maritime disputes with China.

The Beijing Snacks restaurant posted a notice saying that Japanese, Filipino and Vietnamese patrons are not welcome - and neither are dogs.

The move provoked an angry reaction, with online commenters accusing the restaurant of "extremism" and "racism".

An official at Beijing's Vietnamese embassy called the sign "unacceptable".

Vietnamese authorities "would take appropriate action to ensure that all sides respect and protect bilateral friendship", the official told the BBC.

The sign posted in the window of Beijing Snacks makes its intention clear in both Chinese and English.

"This shop does not receive the Japanese, the Philippines [sic], the Vietnamese, and dog", it says.

All three nations are involved in long-running maritime disputes with China over national boundaries in the East and South China Seas.

Mostly recently Beijing has been arguing with Tokyo over the Senkaku Islands - known as the Diaoyu Islands in Chinese - which are controlled by Japan but claimed by China.

Vietnam, the Philippines and Taiwan are also in dispute with China over the sovereignty of islands in the South China Sea.

Anti-China rallies were held in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, in December amid mounting frustration with Beijing.

Owner defiant

Some of that antipathy appeared to have been renewed by the restaurant sign, with thousands of posts on Vietnamese social networking sites and newspaper comment threads.

"The owner of the restaurant has obviously been brainwashed by their [China's] government," Facebook user Chung Pham wrote, according to the AFP news agency.

The state-run Tuoi Tre newspaper described the sign as an example of "extreme nationalism".

Web users in the Philippines were also reported to be angry, but there was no word of any official reaction.

In Beijing the restaurant owner, who gave his name only as Wang, told AFP he had not been asked to remove the sign by any officials.

"This is my own conduct," he told the news agency.

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