The day after the U.S. Treasury Department officially designated China as a “currency manipulator,” Air China announced that it would suspend Beijing-Hawaii flights starting August 27. Chinese tourists believe it is one of the Chinese regime’s retaliation methods, and expressed their anger online, saying “why do you punish your own citizens because you are fighting a trade war with the United States?”
Air China’s flight from Beijing to Honolulu is presently the only direct flight between the two cities. The announcement to suspend flights was made on August 6, and attributed to “factors including network layout and capacity arrangement.”
The announcement came at a sensitive time when trade tension between the two countries is rising to a new level.
U.S. President Donald Trump announced on Aug. 1 new tariffs on an additional $300 billion worth of Chinese imports. Beijing then allowed the Chinese yuan to devalue past its seven-per-US-dollar benchmark on Aug. 5. On the same day, for the first time in 25 years, the U.S. Treasury Department designated China a “currency manipulator.”
Chinese citizens do not trust the reasons Air China gave for suspending the flights to Honolulu, they believe it to be a retaliatory measure.
Many netizens expressed complaints in the comments section of news reports about Air China’s announcement.
“The Chinese authorities are punishing their own citizens to vent their anger!”
“Do not sacrifice civilian’s interests because of the trade war.”
“Our recreational rights are harmed for the sake of improving your bargaining power in a trade war. What kind of government is this? There is only one such regime in the whole world.”
Some tourists had already booked tickets to Hawaii. A tourist named “Wang Xiao” said his flight to Honolulu would be before Aug. 27, but his return flight was scheduled for after Aug. 27.
“If the only redemption for passengers like me is a full refund after the suspension, I am wondering how I am going to make my way back! Why don’t you offer an alternative flight for all passengers who already booked tickets?” He posted a complaint online. “Other airlines will make announcement six months ahead of time. Air China gave us such short notice. It is really a rogue!”
Some netizens also made ironic comments.
“Why not cancel the flights to Washington D.C. too?”
“In the future, China only needs to retain flights to North Korea, Russia, and Iran.”