Published: Sun, January 14, 2018
Economy | By Shawn Conner

China chides more multinational enterprises over labelling of Taiwan

China chides more multinational enterprises over labelling of Taiwan

China has suspended Marriott's Chinese website and mobile app for a week after it emerged that the hotel chain mailed a survey questionnaire to members that listed Tibet, Macao, Hong Kong and Taiwan as independent countries.

China's cyber regulator has demanded meetings in Shanghai with two top regional executives from the American hotel chain and ordered the company to "conduct a comprehensive self-review and rectification".

Arne Sorenson, the president and CEO of Marriott International, said on Thursday that the hotel group "respects and supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China".

The Civil Aviation Administration of China has urged US Delta Airlines to investigate and publicly apologize for listing Taiwan and Tibet as countries on its website.

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Meanwhile, worldwide fashion brand Zara and medical equipment maker Medtronic were ordered by the internet regulator in Shanghai to update their websites after they too were found to have to referred to Taiwan as a country.

China, emboldened by its growing economic and geopolitical influence, is showing less tolerance of what it sees as violations of its political bottom line by foreign companies.

To compound the error, Marriott also suggested its support for this position by liking a post on Facebook, a move it blamed on a "careless" associate.

Marriot was criticized as well after one of the social media accounts for the company liked a post that was made by an organization supporting Tibet being separatist.

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Tibet has been controlled by China since the 1950s after the larger country invaded it, yet Taiwan has been ruling itself for about as long.

According to the Shanghai Cyberspace Administration, the Marriott incident "hurt the feelings of Chinese people".

Former colonies of the United Kingdom and Portugal respectively, Hong Kong and Macau are Special Administrative Regions of China. We recognize the severity of the situation and sincerely apologize.

Marriott reportedly promised to cooperate with the authorities for the investigation.

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While formally the People's Republic of China and Taiwan, officially known as the Republic of China, remains a single country as each considers the other as "renegade provinces", Beijing has repeatedly called it "the most sensitive issue" in its relationships with the United States.

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