An update on my earlier post about the South China Morning Post claim that Beijing secretly plans to ban blacks and Mongolians from bars during the Olympics. Unfortunately, duty called this afternoon, so I didn’t have much time for this issue, but here is where things stand:
- The owners of five bars in and around Sanlitun told me that the police did not ask them to undertake any such ban during the Olympics (these bars tend to be frequented by residents rather than tourists). Several other people, including in the restaurant and the wine business, also told me they were unaware of any such police action.
- Three reporters from the international media contacted me and said they had called numerous bars and, like me, found no one to confirm the SCMP claim.
- The bar owner I noted who said the police told him a few months ago to not serve blacks clarified that this did not seem to be part of any official policy.
- The only way I can see the SCMP story as plausible is if the newspaper is talking about an isolated bar area, such as that neon-lit strip on Sanlitun North or the clubs on Workers Stadium West. Even then, this is yet to be confirmed by anyone I have talked to.
If I hear any more information, I will pass it on.