China rebukes Zara, Delta for calling Taiwan 'country'


A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson on Friday called on foreign enterprises to respect China's sovereignty and territorial integrity after Marriott International, a US -based hotel corporation, listed Chinese territories including Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, and Tibet as "countries" in a mail questionnaire.

Chinese regulators rebuked fashion brand Zara, Delta Air Lines and medical device maker Medtronic on Friday for calling Taiwan a country on their websites in a fresh show of Beijing's acute sensitivity about the self-ruled island.

Marriott International has issued an apology for listing Tibet and Taiwan, which are Chinese-claimed territories, as separate countries in a customer questionnaire.

Aside from closing down the website, the Shanghai Cyberspace Administration said in statement that it was shutting the Marriott's mobile phone application, in a move that would also disrupt bookings.

The airline has been instructed to "immediately rectify the situation" and "publicly apologise", CAAC said.

We will learn from this experience, make changes to ensure errors like this don't happen again, and continue to focus on making sure our Chinese guests feel respected and have wonderful experiences as we have the privilege of serving them in our hotels in China and around the globe.

Another said that while Taiwan, Macau, and Hong Kong are sometimes listed separately, "it is the first time to list Tibet as such".

Marriott, the world's largest hotel chain, posted an apology on the Chinese microblogging platform Weibo on Tuesday after Chinese netizens spotted the controversial listing in a questionnaire sent to customers. Hong Kong and Macau became British and Portuguese territories, respectively, in the age of European colonialism but are now "special administrative regions" under China.

"We never support any separatist organization that damages China's sovereignty and territorial integrity", it says. Tibet is officially known as the Tibetan Autonomous Region.

Foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a regular briefing on Friday that Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and Tibet were all part of China.

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

Marriott International respects and supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China.

"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", the statement said. "Unfortunately, twice this week, we had incidents that suggested the opposite", said Sorenson.

Delta was not immediately able to comment outside USA office hours.