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Request to Remove Uniform Badges Causes Uproar at Emirates

Amsterdam, Netherlands - April 19, 2015: An Emirates Airbus A380 with the registration A6-EOA taking off at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS) in the Netherlands. The Airbus A380 is the world's largest passenger airliner. Emirates is an airline based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It is the biggest customer for Airbus A380 aircraft.

Taiwanese staff were asked to remove the island’s badge from their uniform and to replace it with that of the People’s Republic of China.

Dubai-based carrier Emirates has come under criticism for asking its Taiwanese cabin crew to remove pins from their uniform which display the flag of the island. The removal of these pins, which are intended to indicate the nationalities of and languages spoken by crew, has been perceived as a concession to the contentious ‘One China’ policy, which maintains that Taiwan is an inviolable part of a single China rather than an independent entity.

The BBC reports that a leaked e-mail indicates that the carrier was “instructed by the Chinese government” to “follow the One China policy.” Rather than Taiwanese pins, it appears that crew were asked to wear those displaying the flag of the People’s Republic of China.

The text of the e-mail, written by Nicola Parker (Emirates’ uniform standards and development manager), has been quoted by the South China Morning Post and outlets throughout Asia. “We have been instructed by the Chinese Government that with immediate effect, Emirates cabin crew are 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,” it reads.

“This must be followed by all Taiwanese crew without exception,” the e-mail added.

However, just hours after this missive was issued, Emirates retracted the directive following apparent outcry from staff.

A second e-mail from Parker read, “After reviewing your responses to the e-mail below the original request for you to wear a Chinese flag was incorrect and inappropriate. Please refrain from wearing your Taiwanese flags on flights until further notice.”

“Therefore no flag is required on your uniform. I do apologize for any upset that I may have caused,” read the second e-mail.

Commenting on the communiqués to the BBC, the carrier said that they had been issued by mistake.

“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,” it said.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

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3 Comments
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ChangingNappies June 5, 2017

To be accurate, the flag of Taiwan IS the flag of the Republic of China, and was the flag on the mainland till 1949. So they were already wearing a "Chinese flag"..

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AsiaTraveler June 5, 2017

If this were an error, they would have allowed Taiwanese staff to resume wearing their pins. Since they are now directed to wear no pin....not a mistake. At all.

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fairhsa June 1, 2017

Do they have no idea how offensive that would be to a Taiwanese person?