China blocks Marriott for listing Tibet and Taiwan as countries
12 January, 2018, 16:15
Marriott issued a swift apology to the Chinese government and said that the company doesn't support separatist movements.
The CEO of Marriott International Inc., Arne Sorenson, said in a statement the company "respects and supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China".
Previously, a Chinese internet user had posted a screen shot of Marriotts questionnaire, which listed Tibet, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan as options under the question "Which country are you from?"
"We recognise the severity of the situation and sincerely apologise".
"We apologize profoundly for any behavior that will cause misunderstanding about the above stance".
Another said that while Taiwan, Macau, and Hong Kong are sometimes listed separately, "it is the first time to list Tibet as such".
Hong Kong and Macau are former British and Portuguese colonies, respectively, that are now "special administrative regions" of China.
Shanghai authorities are probing whether the gaffe in Marriott International's Mandarin-language questionnaire violated national cyber-security and advertising laws.
Last year, German carmaker Audi AG apologised for using a map that excluded Taiwan and parts of Tibet and the western Xinjiang region after it was heavily crticised on Chinese social media.
Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, and Tibet are all parts of China, which is not only a basic fact, but also the consensus of the global community, spokesperson Lu Kang said at a daily press briefing.
"I think this is the basic principle for foreign countries to conduct operations and investment in other countries".
China claims indisputable sovereignty over all four of the territories and bristles at any suggestion of independence.
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. Unfortunately, twice this week, we had incidents that suggested the opposite: First, by incorrectly labelling certain regions within China, including Tibet, as countries in a drop-down menu on a survey we sent out to our loyalty members; and second, in the careless "like" by an associate of a tweet that incorrectly suggested our support of this position.
Sorenson added: "Upon completion of a full investigation into how both incidents happened, we will be taking the necessary disciplinary action with respect to the individuals involved, which could include termination, changing our approval and review procedures for online content, reviewing our customer feedback channels, and enhancing training to ensure these situations don't happen again".
Delta was not immediately able to comment outside USA office hours.