Some low-end inn operators in the Chinese port city of Guangzhou have been instructed by the local police to turn away guests from five major Muslim-majority Asian and Middle East nations, including Pakistan, from this week.
"We were briefed in a meeting by our supervisor that local police asked us to turn down guests from these five countries until September 10, without giving any reason," said a person at the front desk of a hostel, reported Hong Kong's South China Morning Post.
According to the South China Morning Post, the countries include Afghanistan, Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Pakistan.
The move is being seen as a security measure as the 11th Pan-Pearl River Delta Regional Cooperation and Development Forum was held on Thursday and Friday in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province in southeast China.
The security move also comes ahead of the G20 leaders' summit being hosted on September 4-5 in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou, 1,000 km away. The G20 is to be attended by world leaders, including US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin, among others.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang, asked about the directive to the inns, said at a news briefing that 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. The Chinese government encourages friendly exchanges between people from China and other countries and stands ready to make that more convenient," Lu said.
The ban however, does not apply to five star or brand name budget hotels.
In March last years, a knife attack by suspected Uighur activists took place on a train station in Guangzhou during morning rush hour, in which nine people were injured.
The Uighurs are a Turkic-speaking, largely Muslim group who hail from Xinjiang, where China has launched a major anti-terror security crackdown.