Beijing:A clothes store here has sparked a racism row by banning Chinese customers from its premises.
The sign on the front door of the store on Yabao Road reading "Chinese not admitted. Staff excluded", was posted more than a week ago, Beijing Youth Daily reported today after receiving complaints from residents nearby.
"We don't want to hang up the sign in the first place and let people think we Chinese look down upon ourselves. But some Chinese customers are too annoying," a salesperson told the paper, adding that the wholesale store mainly sells products to foreigners.
The store had to pay a foreign customer USD 5,000 last week to settle a theft scandal, the salesperson said.
"The surveillance camera footage showed a Chinese customer stole his wallet. But the foreign customer insisted that we [the shop and the Chinese customer] are a theft group," the salesperson said.
"And Chinese women often try lots of clothes but end up buying nothing", the salesperson said, Hong Kong based South China Morning Post reported.
The sign is also to prevent other competitors from copying their designs, another salesperson said.
Most of the businesses along the road, located in the embassy district, cater to Russian traders.
The board evoked anger among Chinese microbloggers.
The report, carried by many influential mainland media outlets, including state media, became one of the most discussed topics this morning, having amassed more than million reads and thousands of comments.
"Get out of China, please," many of the comments read, the Post report said.
Legal scholar Li Xiandong, of the China University of Political Science and Law, told the Beijing Youth Daily?that while the sign is discriminatory, China has not outlawed racial discrimination and, therefore, putting up such a sign is not illegal.