China shuts down Marriott website for listing Tibet as separate country

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Chinese authorities say they have blocked the Marriott website and app for a week after the hotel group listed Tibet, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan as separate "countries" in its emails and app.

The Shanghai Cyberspace Authority said Marriott was ordered to "to conduct a comprehensive self-examination and rectification to completely clean up illegal content".

"We don't support anyone who subverts the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China and we do not intend in any way to encourage or incite any such people or groups", Mr Sorenson said.

To the government's alarm, it listed Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and Tibet as "countries".

Apart from Delta Airlines, Chinese regulators urged fashion brand Zara, medical device maker Medtronic to investigate and remove Taiwan and Tibet from their list of countries on websites.

Earlier the Civil Aviation Administration of China demanded an "immediate and public" apology from the USA carrier along with an investigation into how the mistake happened.

China is stepping up its policing of global companies such as Inditex SA-owned Zara and Delta Air Lines Inc. and demanding they respect the government's position on long-standing territorial disputes from Taiwan to Tibet.

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Sorenson has described China previously as the company's largest market.

The United States, along with many other countries, does not recognize Taiwan as a sovereign nation and officially sticks to the "One China" position, but has kept informal relations with the island after severing diplomatic ties with it in 1979.

Marriott suspended the questionnaire and apologized.

According to reports from local media and internet users, Spanish clothes company Zara's website (zara.cn) and USA medical technology firm Medtronic's website (medtronic.com) had categorized Chinese territories as countries.

Hong Kong and Macau, which were once British and Portuguese colonies, respectively, were handed over to the Chinese government in the late 1990s, becoming special administrative regions with certain degrees of autonomy.

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

Chinese media is reporting that some travellers are cancelling Marriott reservations in response.

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