Marriott apologizes for labeling China's territories as independent countries


Earlier this week, Shanghai government agencies summoned Marriott International's executives in China, after the company's Chinese-language website listed Tibet and Taiwan under "nation" and spurred intense online criticism.

"Cyberspace is not an extralegal place and multinational corporations should abide by relevant laws and regulations", China's Shanghai Cyberspace Authority reportedly said.

Marriott apologized profusely, saying it respects and supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China.

The survey sent to customers asked in which country they lived and gave options including Tibet, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

On Friday, European clothing firm Zara and medical equipment-maker Medtronic were both given less than a day to rectify what the CAC called "illegal content" on their websites, again referring to geographical descriptions.

China's civil aviation regulator reached out to the U.S. airline, instructing them to issue an apology and rectify the situation with immediate effect.

Chinese authorities also took action against Delta Airlines on Friday for the same offense. "Unfortunately, twice this week, we had incidents that suggested the opposite".

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Delta said it recognizes the seriousness of the issue and took immediate steps to resolve it.

Zara and Medtronic are not the only two companies that have been chastised for disrespecting China's territorial sovereignty. "We deeply apologize for any actions that may have caused misunderstandings about the above position".

Several foreign companies in China have come under scrutiny for listing Taiwan and Hong Kong as countries - infuriating the Chinese government and patriotic netizens, to whom these areas are indispensable territories.

China issued curbs on South Korea retail and tourism companies, with some of the country's consumers boycotting Korean goods.

It also said Shanghai's Huangpu district market supervision bureau was launching an investigation into Marriott, as it was suspected of violating China's cyber security law and advertisement law. In the eyes of the Chinese Communist Party, this breaks the implicit agreement that firms make when they enter China: that they will support China's goal of asserting itself and righting historical wrongs.

Tibet is a western region of China where the central government in Beijing has faced repeated bouts of unrest from ethnic Tibetans unhappy over its rule.