China orders Marriott to suspend website, app in map furor

14 January, 2018, 00:05 | Author: Valerie Burke
  • Marriott Draws Fire Over Geography Slip-Up

Delta Airlines has apologised for listing Tibet and Taiwan as independent countries on its official website and promised to take immediate measures to correct the mistakes.

Marriott got a taste of China's brutal censorship regime on Thursday, when the government blocked citizens from accessing the American hotel company's websites after the regime discovered that Marriott had listed Taiwan and Tibet as separate countries online.

Marriott has said it was "deeply sorry" and wished to "reiterate our usual stand in respecting China's sovereignty and territorial integrity".

In December 2004, Chinese media reported that hackers had defaced McDonald's corporate website on Christmas Day because it had both Taiwan and Hong Kong listed alongside other nations in a "Country" pull-down menu.

Meanwhile, global fashion brand Zara and medical equipment maker Medtronic were ordered by the internet regulator in Shanghai to update their websites after they too were found to have to referred to Taiwan as a country.

Delta Air Lines was this week reprimanded by the Civil Aviation Administration of China for similar descriptions on its website.

Marriott Draws Fire Over Geography Slip-Up

Taiwan, although self-ruled, is considered an integral part of China.

Sorenson has described China previously as the company's largest market. The warnings signal that the country may deploy more sticks against foreign companies that can't risk losing business in the world's second-biggest economy.

The involvment of more than one Chinese authority in rebuking businesses across different industries suggested possible coordination at a high level of government.

According to reports from local media and internet users, Spanish clothes company Zara's website (zara.cn) and USA medical technology firm Medtronic's website (medtronic.com) had categorized Chinese territories as countries. "You first earned Chinese people's money, and then hurt our feelings".

Shanghai authorities closed the hotel brand's website for a week.

Following the incidents, authorities in Shanghai launched an investigation and conducted interviews with the hotel's company representatives. Hong Kong and Macau became British and Portuguese territories, respectively, in the age of European colonialism but are now "special administrative regions" under China.

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