Marriott, Delta, and Zara under fire for websites that call Taiwan a country


Companies are in trouble for referring to Taiwan as country in website menus.

In December 2004, Chinese media reported that hackers had defaced the McDonald’s corporate website on Christmas Day because it had both Taiwan and Hong Kong listed alongside other nations in a “Country” pull-down menu.

Under a low-resolution image of a skull and crossbones was the text: “We oppose the McDonald’s management listing Taiwan as a country. Taiwan is an inseparable part of China. Any attempt to separate Taiwan from China and any wild ideas of blocking the cross-straits unification are bound to be demolished!!” The McDonald’s management cleaned up the defacement and changed the terminology to “Country/Market.”

The state has now taken over the role of protecting the sovereignty of the People’s Republic on corporate websites: Earlier this week, we noted reports that the Shanghai office of the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) had blocked the Marriott hotel group’s website and app for a week after it listed Tibet, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan as separate “countries.”

  • Marriott is in trouble again, this time, the South China Morning Post says, because one of its corporate Twitter accounts “liked” and shared a post congratulating the hotel group over listing Tibet and Hong Kong as independent countries.
  • “Respecting China’s core interests is the ‘bottom line’ for businesses,” says a commentary in Xinhua News Agency.
  • Delta Airlines has been scolded by China’s civil aviation regulator for listing Taiwan and Tibet as “countries” on its website, according to CNN.
  • Spanish fast fashion retailer Zara and American medical device maker Medtronic have been warned, also by Shanghai’s CAC office, for their websites that had categorized Taiwan as an independent country, reports Sixth Tone.
  • China steps up policing of multinationals over sovereignty” is how Bloomberg headlined its story on the news.


  1. 甲 jiǎ
    Goodbye, cheap flights in China?
    A deregulation of ticket prices for state-owned Chinese airlines running over 300 routes will probably lead to more expensive flights.
  2. 乙 yǐ
    BBC China editor quits over unequal pay
    Carrie Gracie, a 30-year veteran of the British state broadcaster, resigns after pay revelations. She accused the company of having a “secretive and illegal pay culture” that gave “at least 50% more” to male international editors.
  3. 丙 bǐng
    U.S. lawmakers show Huawei the highway
    A deal for Chinese smartphone and network hardware manufacturer Huawei to distribute its phones to AT&T mobile customers in the U.S. was canceled due to “political pressure,” days before the partnership was to be announced at the CES tech fest in Las Vegas this week.
  4. 丁 dīng
    A quasi-official response to the burgeoning #MeToo movement in China
    The #MeToo movement is taking off in China — cautiously, quietly, despite censorship, and with very little official support. But today, the People’s Daily posted a message of support to social media for Beihang University’s decision to sack a professor accused by four women of sexual harassment. Earlier this week, the Chinese internet was buzzing after a video circulated naming Hong Kong actor and producer Eric Tsang as a rapist, and women’s rights activist Xiao Meili 肖美丽 inspired by a Beihang University student who came forward with her story of harassment by Professor Chen — wrote an open letter to her alma mater calling for a system to prevent sexual harassment on campus.