By now, you’ve probably heard about the United Airlines passenger who was violently dragged off a plane on Sunday and left with a bloodied mouth instead of a safe trip. But while some in the states may be shaking their heads, people in China are shaking their fists.
Mobile phone footage of the incident has been viewed on Chinese social media more than 330 million times and millions are vowing to avenge the passenger. According to U.S. media reports, the 69-year-old man is Dr. David Dao who was on his way to treat patients in Louisville, Kentucky. Many outraged Chinese citizens are calling racial discrimination and demanding the U.S. government deliver an apology.
Others are vowing to destroy the airline’s reputation and damage its revenue.
One user on the popular Chinese social media site Weibo said, “If you beat your customers, we will thrash your reputation and your market share around the world, until we hear a sincere apology from your bleeding mouth.”
The hashtag #UnitedForcesPassengerOffPlane remains one of the site’s hottest topics. More than 38,000 Internet users have signed a #ChineseLivesMatters petition demanding that the US government investigate the incident.
But why exactly was the man dragged off the plane? According to media reports, he was one of four people removed from the flight at random or as volunteers to accommodate four airline employees who needed transportation.
But some passengers report that Dao suspected he was racially targeted. “He [Dao] said, more or less: ‘I’m being selected because I’m Chinese’,” bystander Tyler Bridges told The Washington Post. Still, others reported he was Vietnamese.
Media attempts to reach Dao and airline officials have been unsuccessful.
United Airlines chief executive Oscar Munoz said on Twitter that the incident was “upsetting”.
According to some reports, one of the aviation security guards involved has been placed on administrative leave failing to follow protocol.