Delta, Zara and Medtronic Join Marriott in Beijing's Doghouse After Location Gaffes

Delta, Zara and Medtronic Join Marriott in Beijing's Doghouse After Location Gaffes

Shanghai's cyberspace authority late Thursday ordered Marriott to close its Chinese website and app for a week and completely clear out illegal and irregular information, according to a government statement.

Macau and Hong Kong were under Portuguese and British rule respectively until the 1990s and are now defined as Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China.

"We never support any separatist organization that damages China's sovereignty and territorial integrity", it says.

China's aviation authority on Friday demanded an apology from Delta Air Lines for listing Taiwan and Tibet as countries on its website, while another government agency took aim at Inditex-owned fashion brand Zara and medical device maker Medtronic Plc for similar issues.

The U.S. company issued an apology earlier in the day for the gaffe, which had drawn accusations of disrespecting Chinese sovereignty and calls for a boycott by angry netizens on Weibo, China's version of Twitter. "We recognize the severity of the situation and sincerely apologise", the statement said.

Caixin Global reports that Marriott's including Tibet in the drop-down list was particularly offensive to Weibo commenters as other brands from overseas have previously also listed Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau as "countries" in an English-language context.

Last year, German carmaker Audi AG apologised for using a map that excluded Taiwan and parts of Tibet and the western Xinjiang region after it was heavily crticised on Chinese social media.

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It also said Shanghai's Huangpu district market supervision bureau was launching an investigation into Marriott, as it was suspected of violating China's cyber security law and advertisement law.

Taiwan split from China in 1949 when the Chinese Communist Party took power and former leader Chiang Kai-Shek fled to the island, formerly known as Formosa, claiming self-rule.

"I think this is the basic principle for foreign countries to conduct operations and investment in other countries", Lu said.

"Marriott International respects and supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China. Unfortunately, twice this week, we had incidents that suggested the opposite", said Sorenson.

Upon completion of a full investigation into how both incidents happened, we will be taking the necessary disciplinary action with respect to the individuals involved, which could include termination, changing our approval and review procedures for online content, reviewing our customer feedback channels, and enhancing training to ensure these situations don't happen again. An executive who answered the phone at Zara's Shanghai office was not able to immediately comment.

As of 8am GMT the Tibet option had been removed.

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