Taipei, May 31 Dubai-based airline Emirates is under fire after instructing Taiwanese cabin crew to remove the island’s flag from their uniforms.
BBC on Wednesday cited a leaked email, which said the airline was “instructed by the Chinese government” to “follow the One China policy”.
On Tuesday, crew were told to wear China’s flag instead, but this directive was later withdrawn. Flag pins show passengers the nationality and languages of crew.
The airline later told the BBC there had been a “communication error”. A spokesperson said that now no crew needed to wear any flag pin, whatever their nationality.
China still sees self-ruling Taiwan as part of its territory waiting to be reunified.
The email, quoted by the South China Morning post and other media in Asia, said cabin crew were told “to follow the One China policy”.
“This means you must remove the Taiwanese flag from your service waistcoat and replace it with the Chinese flag,” wrote Nicola Parker, the airline’s uniform standards and development manager.
She said fresh stocks of China badges were being ordered. However, hours later, Parker wrote a second email saying that the previous message was “incorrect and inappropriate”, apologising for “any upset I may have caused”.
She added: “Please refrain from wearing your Taiwanese flags on flights until further notice. Therefore no flag is required on your uniform.”
The airlines later apologised for what it said was a “communication error”.
“An internal email was sent to cabin crew instructing them to remove a flag pin from their uniform and replace it with another flag pin. This email was sent in error and has since been retracted.”
“Our intent is to recall the flag pins worn by all our cabin crew as part of our uniform update. This is based on ongoing feedback and review from our teams. All cabin crew are no longer required to wear a flag pin as part of their uniform. ”
On the social media, users responded by repeatedly posting pictures of the Taiwanese flag on the airline’s Facebook account, with some also vowing to boycott the airline.