Chinese police have ordered hotels to reject guests from five Muslim majority countries.

According to budget hotels in the southern city of Guangzhou, the hotels had received warnings from police beginning in March, ordering them to reject guests from Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Turkey, and Afghanistan.

Chinese foreign ministry denied having heard of the policy, while several hotel workers have confirmed reports of a ban.

“Local police had told staff they must turn away guests from the five countries until September 10, but had not explained why,” a hotel worker told the South China Morning Post.

A worker in another hold told Reuters that: “I'm not clear of the reason. We just can't take them.”

The ban, however, has not been reported in upscale hotels, or in budget hotels belonging to domestic or international chains.

“I've never heard that there is this policy being followed in China,” foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said.

“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 ban took effect at the same time as a development forum held in Guangzhou on 25 and 26 August, and reportedly will extend until after the G20 summit is set to take place in Hangzhou, which is located 620 miles away from Guangzhou.