Beijing: Chinese police in Guangzhou city have ordered hostel operators to turn away guests from five countries — Afghanistan, Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Pakistan — until next month, a report said yesterday. Hostels in various parts of the city also confirmed the development. However, the inclusion of Pakistan came as a surprise considering its close all-weather ties with China.

The Guangzhou police move reportedly came ahead of the 11th Pan-Pearl River Delta Regional Cooperation and Development Forum being held in Guangzhou since yesterday while the G20 leaders’ summit will be hosted in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou on September 4-5. Foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said, “We never heard about such a policy being carried out in China. Our policy is to encourage people to exchanges in China and other countries.”

The report quoted a hostel official as saying that “local police asked us to turn down guests from these five countries until September 10, without giving any reason.” A person at the front desk of a hostel in Yuexiu district acknowledged the measure by referring to a written notice.

However, the ban does not apply to five-star hotels like the Garden Hotel or White Swan, or even brand name budget hotels, it said.