Stranded Chinese tourists clashed with Japanese police at Tokyo's Narita Airport

They started singing the Chinese national anthem.

Kayla Wong | January 28, 2018, 01:36 AM

A group of 175 Chinese tourists were left stranded at Narita International Airport in Tokyo, Japan on Jan. 24, 2018.

And it did not go down well.

24-hour delay

According to Haiwainet, the Chinese tourists were scheduled to board a Jetstar Japan flight GK35 at 9.45pm on Wednesday night (Jan. 24).

But due to bad weather in Shanghai, the flight was delayed for 24 hours -- as the next flight to Shanghai by the budget Japanese carrier would be available a full day later.

Clash with the Japanese police

However, the situation boiled over on Thursday morning, Jan. 25.

This occurred after a Chinese tourist was reportedly stopped from going to a vending machine on the second floor of the departure hall.

An exchange of words took place between the Chinese tourists and airline staff, which then escalated into a physical altercation.

Local police arrived at the scene and tried to take one of the tourists away, even reportedly tearing his clothes in the process.

Based on the video footage, both the tourists and officers were seen pulling and shoving one another.

GIF via Guanchazhe

GIF via Guanchazhe

In the midst of the chaos, some tourists even broke out in song, singing the Chinese national anthem as a show of protest.


Chinese embassy forced to step in

The Chinese embassy eventually stepped in, helping to make arrangements for the Chinese tourists to diffuse the situation.

They successfully negotiated with the airline, ending with the latter agreeing to treat the stranded tourists properly, pay for their meals, and arrange a flight out.

While some tourists agreed to accept the accommodations provided, around 100 of them stayed behind at the gate, even though the airport was scheduled to close at 11.00 pm.

Image via iFeng/Weibo

All of the Chinese tourists, excluding the man who was detained by the police, arrived at Shanghai on Friday morning.

In a statement released later by the embassy, they asked the Japanese police to handle the case in a "fair and just manner" and protect the "legitimate rights and interests of all parties concerned".

Preferential treatment from Jetstar Japan

The Chinese tourists had claimed that while Jetstar Japan took care of the five Japanese tourists who were supposed to be on the same flight, the non-natives were left to figure things out on their own.

They said not only did the airline refuse to provide them with access to Mandarin-speaking staff, they told them to collect their own baggage and settle their own accommodation issues.

They also accused the airline's staff of having a "very poor attitude", repeatedly telling the Chinese tourists to "get out" in English.

Mass disapproval from netizens

Screenshot via Weibo

Translation: Post-traumatic stress disorder of the warring wolves.

Screenshot via Weibo

Translation: I saw the report by the embassy. I hope that this nation's adult babies realise that budget carriers don't provide meals nor accommodations. As for those 5 Japanese tourists who received "preferential treatment", they don't have that in reality and have actually chosen to leave by themselves. By asking you to "get out", it's because you defied their instructions and left the designated area. As for asking you to wait 24 hours, the Chinese embassy said the same to you, but yet, you insisted on causing a ruckus, and even sang the national anthem? Excessive activism and media reporting are diseases.

Screenshot via Weibo

Translation: What the hell's up with the national anthem? Would the People's Liberation Army appear? If I was present, I'd get as far away from them as possible.

Similar incidents happened before

This isn't the first time that such an incident has happened.

In winter last year, when heavy snow left around 100 Chinese tourists stranded at Hokkaido's New Chitose Airport, similar skirmishes occurred with the local police.

The year before that, some Chinese tourists vented their frustration at a 10-hour flight delay in a Bangkok airport by breaking out into the Chinese national anthem, March of the Volunteers.

You can watch footage of the exchange here:

[video width="640" height="368" mp4=""][/video]

Update, Jan. 28, 3pm:

Jetstar has released a statement:

- Jetstar Japan flight GK35 on Jan. 24, 2018 was delayed because of bad weather conditions at Shanghai Pudong Airport.

- We worked with local authorities to allow customers at the gate back into the public area of the airport.

- The airline also provided meal vouchers, sleeping bags, water and crackers to customers.

- Some passengers were understandably upset that the flight was only going to depart the next evening when weather conditions cleared. It was during this process where a disruptive passenger was detained by local police for unruly behaviour. The case is now under investigation by local police.

- While Jetstar understands how flight disruptions affect travel plans of our customers, we will never compromise on the safety of its customers and crew, which is top priority.

- The flight departed at 2145hrs local time on Jan. 25, 2018 and had since arrived in Shanghai.

Top image via Weibo