Delta Airlines apologises for listing China's territories as independent countries

Delta Airlines apologises for listing China's territories as independent countries

Delta had categorized both Taiwan and Tibet as separate countries on its website.

"We never support any separatist organisation that damages China's sovereignty and territorial integrity", it says.

The move comes after Marriott International Inc. was reported to have listed Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and Tibet as individual countries in an email to members, as well as on its app's registration page.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China said that it had summoned executives of Delta Air Lines after the company was found to have listed Taiwan and Tibet as independent countries on its website.

Taiwan is a self-ruled island with a democratically elected president, but Beijing views it as a breakaway province and maintains the option of using force to achieve unification.

China, emboldened by its growing economic and geopolitical influence, is showing less tolerance of what it sees as violations of its political bottom line by foreign companies. "This is the minimum requirement of any company going to another country to carry out business and investment", he said.

Though Marriott made several posts on Weibo to apologize, it is not clear whether Marriott actively monitors mentions on Weibo or whether they might have been able to get ahead of the negative backlash in real-time.

The Shanghai government said it had asked Marriott to "take down all relevant content, conduct a thorough check on all contents it posted on its website and online application to prevent anything similar, and address the public's concern in a timely fashion to eliminate a negative impact".

Officials said Marriott had "seriously violated national laws and hurt the feelings of the Chinese people". The ruling Communist party has long insisted to the rest of the world that these regions, as well as Hong Kong, should always be described as being part of China.

The CAC met with Marriott representatives this week and ordered its website and app to be taken down for a week, as punishment.

It triggered an uproar on Chinese social media as Tibet is an "autonomous region" firmly under Chinese control since the 1950s.

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

Authorities in Beijing began an investigation yesterday into the language used by the American multinational company in a questionnaire sent to customers by email.

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