Cyber Police from the city of Shanghai have blocked Marriott’s website and mobile app for one week, punishing the hotel chain for “disrespecting” Chinese Sovereignty.
Marriott sent out a Mandarin-language survey to Chinese consumers which listed Hong Kong, Macau, Tibet, and Taiwan as separate countries (probably using a drop-down menu). China claims sovereignty over all four.
We absolutely will not support any separatist organization that will undermine China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity…We apologize for any act that may give rise to misunderstandings.
Marriott International respects Chinese sovereignty and its territorial integrity…We sincerely apologize for any actions that led to misunderstanding on the aforementioned stance.
And of course the unanswered question is whether Marriott views Taiwan as a “separatist organization” or a legitimate government…
But I suspect this apology will help Marriott to “save face” in a nation in which respect is fundamental.
Nevertheless, the Shanghai Cyberspace Administration has blocked Marriott’s website and mobile app for one week as punishment. Marriott is also now being investigated for breaking Chinese advertising law.
It’s not a comforting policy to me when a city government, let alone any government institution, can simply block a website or mobile app for what it deems a slight.
It’s also not comforting when members of Weibo state:
They are earning our people’s money and yet they are thinking of splitting our motherland.
Really? I don’t think that is what Marriott is thinking about.
I’ll stop. I know the issue is a complex and sensitive one.