Delta, Zara, Medtronic apologize for Tibet, Taiwan questions

2018-01-14 01:51:22 GMT2018-01-14 09:51:22(Beijing Time) Sina English

The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Friday urged foreign companies in China to respect China's sovereignty and integrity, and respect the Chinese people's feelings after more firms were reportedly found listing China's Tibet Autonomous Region and Taiwan as "countries."

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang told the Global Times on Friday, "I want to emphasize that Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan and Tibet are part of China. This is the reality and the international community has reached a consensus on this."

Lu said that China welcomes foreign companies to invest and conduct business in China, but they should respect China's sovereignty and integrity, as well as the Chinese people's feelings and abide by China's laws. "This is also the basic code for any company doing business in other countries," Lu said.

Regulators have asked more companies, including Delta Airlines and Zara, to correct content on their websites in which they list Taiwan as a "country," coming a day after Marriott International's website and app in China were shut down for one week for the same reason.

China's Civil Aviation Administration (CAAC) released a notice on its website on Friday, saying that "the administration pays close attention to the incident of Delta Airlines listing China's Tibet Autonomous Region and Taiwan as "countries" on its websites. The administration met with the person in charge of Delta, asked the company to conduct an investigation, correct the content, and publicize the results immediately."

CAAC also asked Delta to immediately make a public apology. Meanwhile, it asked all the overseas airlines which operate in China to check the content on their websites and apps, and operate in accordance with China's laws to avoid similar incidents.

Shanghai's cyberspace affairs regulator has asked two companies, popular Spanish clothing and accessories retailer Zara and US medical device maker Medtronic, to rectify listing Taiwan as a "country" on their websites and publish an apology on their websites before 6 pm on Friday.

Zara, Delta and Medtronic released announcements on their websites in late afternoon on Friday, making apologies and promised to check contents on their websites.

The Shanghai regulator said in a statement on its website on Friday that cyberspace is not out of the judicial reach, and overseas companies should abide by China's laws and regulations on the internet.

"Shanghai's cyberspace regulator will strengthen efforts to manage illegal content on the internet and welcome the public and netizens to report violations in an effort to maintain a good environment in cyberspace," read the statement.

The Friday incidents are the latest since global hotel chain Marriott International released its fifth apology early Friday morning for listing Tibet as a "country" in a membership email and triggered outrage on Chinese social media.

The three companies involved in the Friday incidents were spotted by Chinese netizens, with some saying "some overseas companies cannot earn money from China and secretly play tricks to harm our national interests."

Bai Ming, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, told the Global Times on Friday that "foreign enterprises, which overlooked the Taiwan question or purposely listed some regions in China as 'countries' should learn a lesson from the incidents. Chinese netizens have greatly helped in pushing foreign enterprises to apologize for the incidents. And they will pay attention to other similar tricks played by some overseas firms."

The original furor erupted on Tuesday over a questionnaire emailed to Marriott Rewards card members that asked them to identify their "country" as the Chinese mainland, Tibet, Macao, Hong Kong or Taiwan, according to a Sina Weibo post by internet user "zhongjusaodi."

The hotel chain has apologized five times for the incident and its Chinese website and app were asked by Shanghai regulators to be shut down for a week on Thursday.

However, some Chinese netizens still urged a boycott of the hotel chain for the Tibet incident on Friday.(Agencies)

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