Indian hotel association bans Chinese customers after border clash

The June 15 battle was the first time troops have died in action along the Asian giants’ Himalayan border in 45 years, and was followed by a buildup of forces even as talks continue.

Sandeep Khandelwal, chairman of the Delhi Hotel and Restaurant Owners Association, said the decision on 75,000 hotel rooms in the Indian capital was to ‘support our government in this situation of war with China’ .

“Why should we allow them to earn money in India? Khandelwal told AFP.

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The association, which mainly represents three- and four-star hotels, will also encourage its members to stop using Chinese products.

Although nearly 300,000 Chinese visited India in 2018, the boycott is largely symbolic as travel restrictions due to the coronavirus have seen the number of foreign visitors dwindle.

Some hotels remain closed despite a gradually easing lockdown.

The move, however, demonstrates growing anti-Chinese sentiment in India, especially on social media, which has been inundated with calls to reject Chinese products.

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There were also small demonstrations with burning Chinese flags.

E-commerce giants including U.S. giant Amazon – which sell huge volumes of Chinese-made electronics – have agreed to display the country of origin of goods for sale on their platforms, media reported Thursday.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government ordered all sellers to do the same on its GeM portal, which is used for tens of billions of dollars in government purchases.

Police walk past China Bazar, a store selling Chinese-made goods, after it was closed and renamed India Bazar, in Hyderabad, India.

Police walk past China Bazar, a store selling Chinese-made goods, after it was closed and renamed India Bazar, in Hyderabad, India. Source: AFP

China’s Xiaomi – India’s top mobile phone brand with factories in the country – covers its logo on shop windows in major cities, with banners reading “Made in India”.

“Company officials told us to do this to protect ourselves from protesters or politicians who might damage property as anti-China sentiments are on the rise,” said Xiaomi store owner Mr. Jignesh. in Mumbai.

“But the demand hasn’t decreased at all for smartphones and people are still buying these gadgets,” he told AFP.

Goods made in China, including some vital raw materials for Indian pharmaceutical companies, are also starting to pile up at Indian ports and airports due to tighter customs controls, according to media reports.

Despite longstanding relations, India and China have steadily forged strong economic ties in recent years.

Annual two-way trade is some US$90 billion (A$130.8 billion), with a deficit of about US$50 billion (A$72.7 billion) in favor of China.

Christina A. Kroll