China has Shut Down The Marriott Website

Marriott Draws Fire Over Geography Slip-Up

The hotel chain also received flak for "liking" a "pro-independence of Tibet" tweet that praised Marriott for listing Tibet as a "country".

Though Marriott apologized, reassuring Chinese authorities that the company doesn't "support anyone who subverts the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China", the consequences were severe: On Thursday, the Shanghai government ordered Marriott to close down its Chinese website and app for a week.

Taiwan, Tibet, Macau and Hong Kong were on the site as being individual countries in a survey the company sent to its customers.

The Chinese government on Friday demanded public apologies from Spanish fast-fashion retailer Zara, U.S. carrier Delta Air Lines and Irish medical device company Medtronic, after they singled out Taiwan as a separate country on their websites.

Delta Airlines has been scolded by China's civil aviation regulator for listing Taiwan and Tibet as "countries" on its website, according to CNN.

Foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a regular briefing on Friday that Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and Tibet were all part of China.

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.




But Marriott's inclusion of Tibet - a Chinese provincial-level autonomous region - was the straw that broke the camel's back for Zhongjusaodi and others.

Chinese authorities say Marriott's wording violated cybersecurity and advertising laws.

The Xinhua report quoted market observers as saying it operates 270 hotels with almost 100,000 rooms in China.

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.

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. They also suspended the Chinese app of the hotel group for one week in penance.

Both Macau and Hong Kong are special administrative regions of China, said Beijing. "We sincerely apologize for any actions that may have suggested otherwise".

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