Published on : Monday, May 7, 2018
The Chinese Civil Aviation Administration has asked 36 foreign air carriers – including a number of American airlines – to desist from referring to the three destinations as separate countries.
China considers Taiwan a province, and Hong Kong and Macau as largely self-governing parts of the country.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that 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.
Previously, the government of China sent letters to American Airlines and United Airlines last month, telling them to remove all “separatist” rhetoric from their public-facing documents or face punishment from “relevant cyber-security authorities.
Ms Sanders slammed the letters as a form of mandated political correctness – something she said Mr Trump had run against during his campaign for president.
American Airlines still did not mention China in its listings for the three destinations. The representatives from American Airlines and United Airlines did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
There are several international companies – including at least one US airline – have already changed how they refer to the regions, under pressure from Beijing. Zara, Qantas, and Delta Air Lines all pulled references to Taiwan as a separate country from their websites in January, after being publicly reprimanded by Chinese authorities.
Earlier, Beijing took down the website for Marriott Hotels & Resorts in China for a week after the company listed Taiwan and Tibet as separate countries in a survey. Marriott apologised and cut ties with the contractor responsible for the survey.