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Companies in Hot Water with China over Taiwan and Tibet

 2 min read / 

Delta Air Lines is facing strong public backlash for listing Taiwan and Tibet as “countries” on its website, areas the Chinese government considers as part of its territory.

China’s civil aviation regulator reached out to the US airline, instructing them to issue an apology and rectify the situation with immediate effect. Delta said it recognised the seriousness of the issue, stating: “It was an inadvertent error with no business or political intention.”

Shanghai’s internet authority also chastised clothing retailer Zara for listing Taiwan as a “country,” demanding Zara’s representatives to rectify the issue. Zara likewise complied with the request and immediately apologised on its Chinese websites.

Delta and Zara, however, are not the only companies to be publicly scolded by China this week. The Marriott hotel chain had its website and app blocked yesterday for a similar political misstep. It listed Hong Kong, Tibet, Taiwan and Macau as separate “countries” in its emails and mobile app, suffering the consequences with a week-long ban.

China’s tourism ministry ordered an investigation after authorities claimed Marriott’s choice of wording violated cybersecurity and advertising laws. It called for others in the industry to heed to the warning, suggesting information on corporate websites and apps are reviewed and that they abide by Chinese laws and regulations.

Marriott also issued an apology to the Asian nation, saying it respects and supports China’s view on the sovereignty of these areas. It also promised to work with the Chinese authorities on their investigation, taking disciplinary action where needed.

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