Police in China's Guangzhou city have reportedly warned hotels not to accept guests from five Muslim nations. According to three city hotels, the authorities informed them that visitors from Pakistan, Syria, Iraq, Turkey and Afghanistan should not be given rooms, a claim China's foreign ministry has denied hearing of.
Reuters reported that hotels that fall in the cheaper range, with rooms costing around 150 yuan ($23, £17.5) received notices from the police. "I'm not clear about the reason. We just can't take them," one hotel worker said.
However, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang stated they were unaware of such a notice being passed. "I've never heard that there is this policy being followed in China," he told reporters. "Moreover, as far as China is concerned, our policy in principle is that we encourage people from China and other countries to have friendly exchanges and are willing to provide various convenient policies in this regard."
According to Hong Kong's South China Morning Post, the ban was allegedly a security measure coinciding with the 11th Pan-Pearl River Delta Regional Cooperation and Development Forum, which took place over 25 and 26 August, and the upcoming G20 summit in Hangzhou.
"We were briefed in a meeting by our supervisor ... local police asked us to turn down guests from these five countries until September 10, without giving any reason," one hostel employee who wished not to be named, told the newspaper.
The ban seems to be in place only for cheaper hotels as the high-end ones have denied receiving any notice in this regard. The move comes across as counter-productive to China's bid to woo Muslim countries in the Middle East for business as well as its longstanding relationship with Pakistan.