In a bizarre move, One of Indian capital’s main hotel associations on Thursday said that its members are barring Chinese guests, as calls for a boycott of Chinese goods gather pace following a border clash that killed 20 Indian soldiers.
The battle between Indian and Chinese soldiers on June 15 was the first time troops have died in combat along the Asian giants’ Himalayan border in 45 years, and has been followed by a build-up of forces even as talks continue.
Sandeep Khandelwal, president of the Delhi Hotel and Restaurant Owners Association, said the decision covering 75,000 hotel rooms in the Indian capital was to “support our government in this war-like situation with China”.
“Why should we allow them to earn money from India?” Khandelwal said.
The association, which represents mostly three and four-star hotels, will also encourage members to stop using Chinese products.
The move demonstrates growing anti-China sentiment in India – particularly on social media, which has been swamped with calls to spurn Chinese products.
There have also been small demonstrations with Chinese flags burned.
E-commerce giants including US giant Amazon – which sell huge volumes of Chinese-made electronic items – have agreed to display the country of origin of goods for sale on their platforms.
Earlier this week Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government ordered all sellers to do the same on its GeM portal, which is used for tens of billions of dollars’ worth of state purchases.
China’s Xiaomi – India’s top cellphone brand which has factories in the country – is covering its logo on shopfronts in major cities, with banners reading “Made in India”.
“The company officials told us to do this to protect us from protesters or politicians who could damage the property as anti-China sentiments are on the rise,” said Jignesh, the owner of one Xiaomi shop in Mumbai.
“But demand has not come down for smartphones at all and people are still buying these gadgets,” he said.
Goods made in China, including some raw materials vital to Indian pharmaceutical firms, are also starting to pile up at Indian ports and airports because of more strict customs checks.