I seriously hope this is just a hysterical rumor run amok…but then again I have seen people of color refused service at Beijing bars before while Chinese and caucasians continued to be served, so I guess anything is possible. That said, I agree with The Shanghaiist: even by Beijing Olympic standards, any official who actually went around telling people this stuff would have to be mind-boggling, gobsmackingly stupid.
UPDATE: As suspected, this has the strong whiff of a rumor that went out of control. Beijing nightlife guru Jim Boyce was on the case immediately and came up empty. Closer to home, crusading journalist YJ was also calling around, talking to several owners including Huxley, and similarly came away empty.
I’m guessing that this is a “somebody said something to somebody else” game of telephone that ran amok.
It is an open secret that various levels of discrimination do exist at Beijing’s nightspots, we’re just glad that it hasn’t become official policy.
Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.