The man was removed from the flight because crew needed to remove four people in order for the plane to leave, else the flight would have been cancelled. No one gave up their seat voluntarily when crew asked, so they chose four passengers, one of which was the man in the video, who refused to leave and was eventually dragged off the plane, leaving him bloody and dishevilled.
United said it was simply following US Department of Transportation protocol but it has been accused of discrimination, as a passenger told CNN they overheard him saying he was being profiled for being Chinese.
The video has been watched 120 million times on Chinese social media website Weibo, according to the South China Morning Post. Many have shared a post saying "It's straight up discrimination."
One Weibo user, Qian Qian commented: “If you beat your customers, we will thrash your reputation and your market share around the world, until we hear a sincere apology from your bleeding mouth.”
Weibo users also circulated a video of Chinese-American comedian Joe Wong, who spoke up for the passenger and said Chinese people suffer routine discrimination.
Wong said "many Chinese people feel they've been subject to discrimination.
"They stay silent because they fear losing face. That's why the Western mainstream media and public don't take discrimination against Asians seriously."
The anger in China could cause problems for United Airlines as China is the second largest air travel market in the world.
United Airlines also claims that it "operates more nonstop US-China flights, and to more cities in China, than any other airline."