Marriott forced to issue apology after China error

11 2018 shows a Marriott logo in Hangzhou in China's Zhejiang province
11 2018 shows a Marriott logo in Hangzhou in China's Zhejiang province
Author

14 January, 2018

The Marriott hotel chain has been forced to apologise to the Chinese government for referring to Tibet, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao as countries.

The island of Taiwan declared independence in 1950 but Beijing has claimed sovereignty ever since.

City officials said in a notice dated late Wednesday that they were probing whether the gaffe in MarriottInternational's Mandarin-language questionnaire violated national cyber-security and advertising laws.

"Boycott Marriott! Get out of China!" one Weibo user said.

The shots showed that Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and Tibet were offered as possible answers to the question, "Which country are you now living in?" We recognize the severity of the situation and sincerely apologize.

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Civil Aviation Administration of China said on its website it would require all foreign airlines operating routes to China to conduct comprehensive investigation of their websites, apps and customer-related information and "strictly comply with China's laws and regulations to prevent a similar thing from happening".

Sorenson's apology continued by saying the company did not support anyone subverting the country's sovereignty or its territorial integrity and do not in any way intend to encourage any such groups or individuals However, Sorenson said twice during this week, incidents took place suggesting the opposite. We also reviewed the other areas on our websites and apps where this type of functionality might exist to make sure the labeling is correct.

In official statements published by Xinhua, there was no mention of whether other brands under the Marriott International umbrella would face investigation by the relevant authorities. It operates well over 100 locations in the Greater China region.

A senior executive from one of the companies involved in the row, who asked not to be named or his employer identified, told the South China Morning Post that the issue was "serious" and that the crisis management cost, in both financial and human resources terms, would be "huge". 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 also quickly un-'liked' the tweet and posted a statement of apology on Twitter.

Also bolstering such an analysis is the Chinese military, which is now at its strongest ever.


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