Three hotels in the Chinese city of Guangzhou have revealed that police ordered them not to allow guests from five Muslim-majority countries to stay.
In statements made on Thursday, the hotels with rooms costing about $23 a night, said they received notices from as early as March telling them to turn away people from Syria, Iraq, Turkey, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Hong Kong's South China Morning Post said on Friday the rule appeared to be a security measure coinciding with a development forum being held in Guangzhou this week, and also ahead of next week's G20 summit in Hangzhou, though the two cities are more than 1,000 km apart.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said he was not aware that such an order had been issued in Guangzhou.
"I've never heard that there is this policy being followed in China," Lu told a daily news briefing.
"Moreover, as far as China is concerned, our policy in principle is that we encourage people from China and other countries to have friendly exchanges and are willing to provide various convenient policies in this regard."
The Guangzhou city government information office and police in the southern city have not yet made an official comment.
Two high-end hotels told Reuters they had not been told they had to turn away guest from the five countries.
Guangzhou is the capital of the export powerhouse province of Guangdong and is home to a sizable foreign population, many of whom are traders from Africa.
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