China restaurant takes down maritime dispute sign

Sign at a Beijing restaurant

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A Beijing restaurant has removed a sign banning customers from three Asian neighbours currently involved in simmering maritime disputes with China.

The sign at the Beijing Snacks restaurant had said Japanese, Filipino and Vietnamese patrons were not welcome - and neither were dogs.

The move provoked an angry reaction, with online comments accusing the restaurant of "extremism" and "racism".

The owner did not comment further on the row when contacted by the BBC.

The restaurant owner, named only as Wang, said he had not been forced to take the sign down but had done so of his own volition because it had generated "too much bother" and too many calls from the media.

the AFP agency reports that he had "no regrets" and refused to apologise for any offence caused.

'Extreme nationalism'

All three nations named in the sign are involved in long-running maritime disputes with China over national boundaries in the East and South China Seas.

Mostly recently Beijing has been arguing with Tokyo over the Senkaku Islands - known as the Diaoyu Islands in Chinese - which are controlled by Japan but claimed by China.

Vietnam, the Philippines and Taiwan are also in dispute with China over the sovereignty of islands in the South China Sea.

Anti-China rallies were held in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, in December amid mounting frustration with Beijing.

Some of that antipathy appeared to have been renewed by the restaurant sign, with thousands of posts on Vietnamese social networking sites and newspaper comment threads.

The state-run Tuoi Tre newspaper described the sign as an example of "extreme nationalism".

Web users in the Philippines were also reported to be angry, but there was no word of any official reaction.

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