February, 2017 : Nightscape at Shenzhen, China. Shenzhen is a major city in Guangdong Province, China. Source: Shutterstock
According to the Global Times, a tabloid published by the ruling Communist Party’s People’s Daily, the Modern Classic Hotel Group had put up a notice at its hotel informing guests of the extra charge on American guests.
“We put up the notice last Friday. Our boss was really angry about the endless tariffs the U.S. planned to impose on China, so we decided to stand with the country and show our support,” a spokesperson of the hotel surnamed Yang told the paper on Thursday.
People answering the phone on Friday at numbers on the hotel’s website said they were unaware of the policy.
There has been little public evidence to date of anti-American activity in China as the trade dispute has grown increasingly bitter.
However, Wang Jun, deputy director of the Department of Information at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, was quoted as saying the “resentment is accumulating in response to a tougher US policy on China.”
“Nevertheless, Chinese people have already showed restraint amid ongoing unstable relations with the US, especially compared with the time when China had disputes with South Korea over the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, reflecting the maturity of Chinese people,” Wang noted.
The United States and China each imposed a 25 percent tariff on US$34 billion worth of the other’s goods on July 6. This week, Washington published a new set of proposed tariffs on an additional US$200 billion worth of goods from China, further escalating the conflict.
“Chinese public sentiment towards the US is becoming more sensitive” after Washington’s latest tariff threats, the hawkish tabloid said in its report.
Several sources have told Reuters that China issued strict guidelines to its media barring personal attacks on US President Donald Trump and limiting open commentary, an apparent attempt to avoid unintentional escalation.
Authorities were also censoring potentially sensitive items on social media such as Weibo, China’s Twitter-like service, where trade-related items have been mostly kept off the list of top trending topics.
There have been signs of Chinese citizens taking matters into their hands, however: a picture of a sign at a restaurant serving Hunan cuisine informing US tourists of an extra 25 percent charge circulated on domestic and international social media. The origin of the photo could not immediately be confirmed.
Official Chinese statements this week have taken a sharper tone, accusing the United States of “bullying” and starting the trade war.
Additional reporting by Reuters