As Marriott can already attest, tensions over China’s sovereignty can hurt business. Now U.S. airlines are under threat.
In one corner: China, stating that any business operating within its borders must respect its sovereignty. In the the other corner: The United States, dismissing Chinese concerns as “Orwellian”. That leaves airlines in the middle.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told the AP:
Whatever the U.S. says will never change the objective fact that there is only one China in the world and the Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan regions are an inalienable part of China’s territory. Foreign enterprises operating in China should respect China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, abide by China’s law and respect the national sentiment of the Chinese people.
For semi-autonomous Hong Kong and Macau, this may be easy enough to abide by, but what about self-ruled Taiwan?
Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen wants airlines to resist pressure from China:
We call on all businesses to resist #China‘s efforts to mischaracterize #Taiwan
Delta has already apologized for labeling Hong Kong, Taiwan and Tibet as separate countries, but American and United have ignored Chinese demands.
Now the White House has weighed in, with strict words from Press Secretary Sarah Sanders:
This is Orwellian nonsense and part of a growing trend by the Chinese Communist Party to impose its political views on American citizens and private companies. … We call on China to stop threatening and coercing American carriers and citizens.
Not surprisingly, this response has angered China. Shuang’s statement above was made in response to the White House statement.
Next Step: Will China Follow Through?
If American and United continue to ignore Chinese wishes, will they face a fate similar to Marriott, whose website in China was shut down for one week? It is now up to China to punish those who refuse to comply or find a “face saving” alternative that make the story go away.
Will you lose respect for American and United if they give into Mainland Chinese demands? Or is this simply, as China insists, the price of doing business in the Chinese market?
money verses face, I wonder which will come out on top?
yes…i will lose respect for them…not that there’s much to begin with…
“Whatever the U.S. says will never change the objective fact that there is only one China in the world”….they keep it up and maybe there’ll be ZERO China in the world!!!! >:(
yes…I will lose what little respect I may have for them…
China better knock it off or there might not be even 1 China. (We should just nuke them and get it over with.)
We should just nuke China and get rid of them already…we’ve allowed them to exist for far too long.
Wow, you’re such a genius!
If that’s the way China wants to go, then enact a law that states that only allow Chinese companies that publicly accept Taiwan as a free and independent nation can do business in the USA or with a US based, operating, or affiliated company. If they want to play stupid games, well they set the rules and we’ll play by them also. If we got the EU on board as well, there would be pretty much nothing that China could do about it. Maybe then China would ease up on acting like a schoolyard bully.
That will never happen, because then companies like Apple will lose the Chinese kids who make their products.
If Trump resists, then +1 for USA.
The more they do this, the more I will fly real Chinese airlines, like EVA and China Airlines. Yes, the Republic of China is the real China, not the fake People’s Republic of China.
American companies will fall over themselves to appease China. Servile lapdogs and brown-nosers one and all.
I might have phrased it a bit more diplomatically, but largely true. The quest for a buck has left many principles in the rear view mirror.
It’s really quite simple – if you want to do business in a country, especially one run by an authoritarian regime, you have three choices. Play by the rules the regime dictates, #resist and accept the possible consequences, or don’t do business there to begin with. Ultimately, I suspect Paolo and Christian are right. Any company that has issues with the Chinese government’s politics will have to decide how much their principles are worth, but the idea of “ceding the market” will probably make most of them do as they’re told. (The irony, of course, is that when enough people forcefully stand up to the bully, the bully almost always backs down.)