China blocks Marriott for listing Tibet and Taiwan as countries

Marriott to China: We Do Not Support Separatists

Marriott Draws Fire Over Geography Slip-Up

"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".

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

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

"According to the advertising law, Marriott may face a maximum fine of 1 million yuan (153,822 USA dollars) or have its business license revoked", Wu said. Former British colony Hong Kong and former Portuguese colony Macau are ruled as Special Administrative Regions (SAR) by China.

Marriott apologised profusely. "Unfortunately, twice this week, we had incidents that suggested the opposite", said Arne Sorenson, president and CEO of Marriott International in a statement.

The Shanghai Tourism Administration also summoned the "person in charge" of the group's Shanghai branch and ordered the company to severely punish the employees responsible for the incident, news portal Thepaper.cn reported.

Marriott sent out a mail questionnaire to its Chinese members Tuesday morning, which listed Tibet, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan as options under the question "Which country are you from?"

Anger over Marriott's mistake snowballed after it was posted on the Communist Youth League's official account on Weibo, China's popular Twitter-like platform.

Marriott to China: We Do Not Support Separatists
Shanghai probes Marriott hotels over geography on customer questionnaire

Marriott has now begun an investigation.

"Nothing could be further from the truth", Sorenson said.

The involvement of more than one Chinese authority in rebuking businesses across different industries suggested possible coordination at a high level of government.

The global hotel chain issued a profuse apology after sending an email to members of its loyalty scheme in which they were asked to name the country where they lived.

The company, which operates more than 100 hotels in China, quickly responded with a profuse apology distancing itself from charges of supporting separatist movements. Even local activists who have called for greater autonomy for regions within China have faced harsh prison sentences.

The aviation authority also said it would require all foreign airlines operating routes to China to conduct comprehensive investigations of their websites, apps and customer-related information and "strictly comply with China's laws and regulations to prevent a similar thing from happening".

Chinese authorities have also warned other worldwide companies operating in the country to check their websites and apps immediately to prevent similar incidents from happening. But having being closed earlier, the app now appears to be functioning, according to CNN.

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