January 12, 2018

China shutters Marriott website over Taiwan listing


China’s internet regulator has accused hotel group Marriott International of breaking Chinese law and ordered it to close its Chinese website and online booking applications for a week after the company listed Taiwan as a country in some online forms.

The Shanghai office of China’s cyberspace administration, the internet regulator, said in an online post on Thursday that Marriott’s listing of Taiwan as a country had “seriously violated national laws and hurt the feelings of the Chinese people”.

Marriott, which operates more than 120 hotels in China, said that it “respects the integrity of Chinese territory” in a post on Sina Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter. It added: “We do not support any separatist organisation that damages China’s sovereignty or territorial integrity. We sincerely apologise for any actions which might have created misunderstandings about that position”.

Marriott’s Chinese booking app listed Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan as possible choices for a guest’s country of origin, according to Chinese state media, which reported that the same options had been presented in an online questionnaire that the company sent by email, with the addition of Tibet as an option.

Get the full story at the Financial Times and Travel Weekly