wnol.info January 21 2018

Marriott Draws Chinese Ire By Listing Hong Kong, Taiwan As Countries

January 21 2018, 12:22 | Irvin Gilbert

Marriott Draws Fire Over Geography Slip-Up

Marriott to China: We Do Not Support Separatists

China has shut down the Chinese website and app of Marriott International for a week, after the firm listed Tibet, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan as separate countries in its emails and app.

The cyberspace administration and market supervision bureau of Huangpu district in Shanghai said they had conducted interviews with the companys representatives in China and ordered all related content to be removed from its website and mobile app.

"We absolutely will not support any separatist organization that will undermine China's sovereignty and territorial integrity", said the Marriott statement. State-owned Air China was also found to have listed Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau as separate countries on its Hong Kong website.

Taiwan and the mainland split in 1949 after a civil war but the Communist Beijing government claims the island as its territory.

Visitors to the website now see a message which says: "We never support any separatist organisation that harms China's sovereignty and territorial integrity".

But Marriott's inclusion of Tibet - a Chinese provincial-level autonomous region - was the straw that broke the camel's back for Zhongjusaodi and others.

Meanwhile, Zara missed the official deadline, issuing a statement on its official website at around 8 p.m. Friday.

City officials said in a notice dated late Wednesday that they were probing whether the gaffe in MarriottInternational's Mandarin-language questionnaire violated national cyber-security and advertising laws. "We sincerely apologise for any actions that may have suggested otherwise".

Hong Kong and Macau were also offered as possible choices for a guest's country of origin in the survey, further enraging Chinese authorities.

According to China's aviation authority, it would require all global airlines operating in China, to check up their websites, apps and customer-related information so that they "strictly comply with China's laws and regulations to prevent a similar thing from happening".

Marriott International sparked an outrage in China when it sent out a questionnaire which asked members of its customer rewards programme to list their country of residence.

The discoveries were shared across Chinese social media platforms, and internet users across the country expressed their displeasure.

"Unfortunately, twice this week, we had incidents that suggested the opposite", said Arne Sorenson, president and CEO of Marriott International in a statement. China has numerous territorial disputes with its neighbors and it has increasingly laid claim to jurisdiction over most of the South China Sea, which has meant disagreements with Vietnam, The Philippines, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea.

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