China Shuts Down Marriot Website Over Taiwan and Tibet Error

China shuttered the websites in Chinese of Marriot International for one week, after the company listed Taiwan, Tibet and other territories as separate countries.

Apologies were made by the hotel group for its error and said it did not support any separatist movement in China.

Taiwan, Tibet, Macau and Hong Kong were on the site as being individual countries in a survey the company sent to its customers. Beijing says Taiwan, which is self-ruling, is a breakaway province, while Tibet is considered an autonomous region.

Both Macau and Hong Kong are special administrative regions of China, said Beijing.

Marriot was criticized as well after one of the social media accounts for the company liked a post that was made by an organization supporting Tibet being separatist.

Media in China has reported that some travelers have cancelled reservations with Marriott as a response to the errors.

China usually responds quickly to any statement or actions it considers supportive of the separatist movements in particular when it related to Taiwan and Tibet.

While the international website of the hotel is available in China, a Mandarin version of the same was ordered closed by the Shanghai Cyberspace Administration.

Authorities shut down the mobile phone app in Chinese of Marriot as well, as part of the punishment for its survey that was released in Mandarin. However, it appears that the app is now back up and running.

The CEO of the hotel group, Arne Sorenson on Thursday issued a full apology saying the company supports and respects Chinese sovereignty as well as its territorial integrity.

Sorenson’s apology continued by saying the company did not support anyone subverting the country’s sovereignty or its territorial integrity and do not in any way intend to encourage any such groups or individuals However, Sorenson said twice during this week, incidents took place suggesting the opposite.

The CEO’s statement concluded by adding that the hotel group would take the necessary actions to discipline those involved, which could include termination.

Sorenson has described China previously as the company’s largest market. While Marriot now has more than 100 hotels under its different brands scattered across the country, it is keen as well to profit from swelling numbers of people from China travelling overseas.

In 2017, Marriott launched a travel joint venture with Alibaba the e-commerce giant in China.