China's demand to foreign airlines 'Orwellian nonsense'

Nicholas Kamm  AFP  Getty Images		US President Donald Trump boards Air Force One at Cleveland Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland Ohio on Saturday

This time round the Taiwan government was the one chiding Garuda Indonesia for identifying the country's gateway airport as "Taiwan's Taoyuan International Airport, China".

China and the USA are battling it out over airline websites as Beijing attempts to force foreign companies to bend to its will on issues of territorial sovereignty.

Washington has maintained a delicate diplomatic balance since 1979, recognising Beijing's sovereignty as part of its "One China" policy, while remaining Taiwan's most powerful unofficial ally and main weapons supplier.

Chinese Foreign Ministry on Sunday reiterated that foreign-funded enterprises should respect China's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The letter, which was sent to 36 foreign airlines and acquired by the Washington Post's Josh Rogin, demanded that these airlines correctly reference Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macao on their websites and in their promotional materials. For example, America's Delta and Australia's Qantas have already changed their websites, according to CNN.

Although former colonies Hong Kong and Macau are recognized as special administrative regions belonging to China, Taiwan is a democratic, self-ruled state.

The report indicated that Blues To (杜祖業), a Taiwan national and editor-in-chief of GQ Taiwan, who had been originally given the position of GQ China managing editor, had the offer withdrawn for "personal reasons".

In all, almost 40 worldwide airlines have been targeted for running afoul of Beijing's dictates on areas it claims as part of Mainland China's holdings.

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"While we seek a mutually beneficial commercial aviation relationship with China, we will consider taking appropriate action if necessary in response to unfair Chinese actions".

Regulators ordered Marriott to close its China-based website and app for one week after criticizing the company for referring to Tibet and Taiwan as countries in a customer survey.

"This is Orwellian nonsense and part of a growing trend by the Chinese Communist Party to impose its political views on American citizens and private companies. The US government is not going to agree that Taiwan is part of the People's Republic of China, and neither should American companies", Rogin wrote.

Saturday's White House statement is the strongest official USA response to the Chinese Communist Party's imposition of speech standards on foreign firms.

The harshly worded statement came as a high-level trade delegation led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin returned from negotiations in China and as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke with a member of the Chinese Communist Party leadership.

The Trump administration made it clear Saturday that Beijing will not be allowed to export censorship and its own Communist Party brand of political correctness to the rest of the world.

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