Tuesday, 23 January, 2018

Marriott apologizes after listing Taiwan, Tibet as countries

Marriott to China: We Do Not Support Separatists Marriott Draws Fire Over Geography Slip-Up
Preston Stone | 12 January, 2018, 16:42

Chinese authorities in Shanghai took down Marriott International's Chinese website for a week after the USA hotel chain listed Tibet, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau as separate countries.

Delta Air Lines Inc., the Zara apparel chain and Irish medical-equipment maker Medtronic Plc all came under fire.

Chinese news websites carried screenshots of what they said were the websites of other prominent foreign brands that included Taiwan on lists of countries before being abruptly changed this week.

The CAAC said on 12 January that it had asked the airline to investigate the incident, ; until Friday morning it was possible for customers visiting Delta's complaint and comment section on its Chinese website to select and as their country of origin.

"We realised that this mistake would deeply disappoint our Chinese customers".

The U.S. company issued an apology earlier in the day for the gaffe, which had drawn accusations of disrespecting Chinese sovereignty and calls for a boycott by angry netizens on Weibo, China's version of Twitter.

"We never support any separatist organisation that damages China's sovereignty and territorial integrity", it says.

Hong Kong and Macau are former British and Portuguese colonies, respectively, that are now "special administrative regions" under China.

Following a preliminary investigation, the hotel's behaviour has been found to violate both the Cyber Security Law of the People's Republic of China and the Advertising Law of the People's Republic of China.

Marriott to China: We Do Not Support Separatists
Shanghai probes Marriott hotels over geography on customer questionnaire

Caixin Global reports that Marriott's including Tibet in the drop-down list was particularly offensive to Weibo commenters as other brands from overseas have previously also listed Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau as "countries" in an English-language context.

"Marriott International respects Chinese sovereignty and its territorial integrity.We sincerely apologize for any actions that led to misunderstanding on the aforementioned stance", the company said in a statement on its official Weibo account.

It triggered an uproar on Chinese social media as Tibet is an "autonomous region" firmly under Chinese control since the 1950s.

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

"I think this is the basic principle for foreign countries to conduct operations and investment in other countries", Lu said.

Marriott president and chief executive Arne Sorenson soon issued a lengthy apology letter, which described the like as "careless".

In a statement, Sorenson continued: "As a company, we take very seriously the privilege and opportunity we have to serve guests in countries around the world - and particularly in China, a market we have been in for over 30 years".

As of 8am GMT the Tibet option had been removed.

Deadpool 2 Taking On Star Wars Han Solo; Gambit Loses Director
However, one of the film's producers Lauren Shuler Donner said Miller would not be replaced. Fans of the franchise can be forgiven for finding these developments a little troubling.

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