China cracks down on foreign companies calling Taiwan, other regions countries

Marriott Draws Fire Over Geography Slip-Up

It added that on Thursday, Shanghai's cyberspace administration ordered Marriott to shut down its Chinese website and app for a week.

Despite a series of apologies and a freakish clarification that it does not support "separatism" Marriott has become the latest worldwide company to be punished by Beijing for apparently disrespecting China's sovereignty.

Tibet, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau were listed as individual nations in an online survey sent to customers.

The Chinese government on Friday demanded public apologies from Spanish fast-fashion retailer Zara, U.S. carrier Delta Air Lines and Irish medical device company Medtronic, after they singled out Taiwan as a separate country on their websites. "It was an inadvertent error with no business or political intention", the US airline said in a statement, after talks between its senior managers and officials at the Civil Aviation Administration of China.

China annexed Tibet in 1950, although Beijing has long claimed the Himalayan region has been an indivisible part of China throughout history. "As one of our most important markets, we are fully committed to China and to our Chinese customers". "This is the minimum requirement of any company going to another country to carry out business and investment", he said.

Anger over Marriott's mistake snowballed after it was posted on the Communist Youth League's official account on Weibo, China's popular Twitter-like platform.

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"We recognize the severity of the situation and sincerely apologize", the message said, in a more solemn tone than previous ones offered on Chinese media that were slammed as insincere.

Chinese authorities say Marriott's wording violated cybersecurity and advertising laws.

"Unfortunately, twice this week, we had incidents that suggested the opposite", said Arne Sorenson, president and CEO of Marriott International in a statement.

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

Hong Kong and Macau, which were once British and Portuguese colonies, respectively, were handed over to the Chinese government in the late 1990s, becoming special administrative regions with certain degrees of autonomy.

The CAC met with Marriott representatives this week and ordered its website and app to be taken down for a week, as punishment.

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