China shuts Marriott's website over Tibet and Taiwan error

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Hong Kong and Macau are both special administrative regions of China.

The hotel group has apologised for the error and said it did not support separatist movements in China. China annexed Tibet in 1950, although Beijing has long claimed the Himalayan region has been an indivisible part of China throughout history.

China's foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said on Friday that foreign companies in China should respect the nation's laws and sovereignty.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP), along with other Chinese political factions that developed in the early 20th century like the Kuomintang, saw industrialization and economic modernization as the main path for China to recover its prestige.

Marriott has even been criticized in some state media because one of its Twitter accounts was "liked" by the account of Tibetan independence group.

The Cyberspace Administration of China has blocked access to the Marriott hotel chain's website as punishment for geographical descriptions which challenge the People's Republic of China's sovereignty and territorial claims.

Websites of major corporations such as Zara and Delta Air Lines listing Taiwan as a separate country were being targeted by authorities and netizens in China, reports said Friday. "Unfortunately, twice this week, we had incidents that suggested the opposite", said Sorenson.

The statement added that the company would take "necessary" disciplinary action against staff involved, which may include termination. It also promised to work with Chinese authorities on their investigation.

"The companies that come to China should respect China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, abide by China's laws, and respect the feelings of the Chinese people".

China's cyber regulator has demanded meetings in Shanghai with two top regional executives from the American hotel chain and ordered the company to "conduct a comprehensive self-review and rectification".

The Xinhua report quoted market observers as saying it operates 270 hotels with almost 100,000 rooms in China. It operates well over 100 locations in the Greater China region.

According to China's aviation authority, it would require all global airlines operating in China, to check up their websites, apps and customer-related information so that they "strictly comply with China's laws and regulations to prevent a similar thing from happening".

On Thursday, the cyberspace administration of Shanghai further ordered Marriott to shut down its Chinese website and Chinese APP for a week from 6 p.m. and conduct a thorough inspection on all the content and publish the investigation result in a timely fashion. We also reviewed the other areas on our websites and apps where this type of functionality might exist to make sure the labeling is correct.

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