China hits back on White House’s ‘Orwellian nonsense’ claim

Beijing has reacted angrily after the White House labeled as “Orwellian nonsense” a letter sent by China’s civil aviation authority to 36 foreign airlines demanding that, on their drop-down menus, they refer to Taiwan as part of China.

The letter comes as Beijing’s worsening trade spat with the US heightens tensions between the two economic giants.

Taiwan Flag (Image: Medium)

The letter to airlines offered more detailed instructions on how Taiwan should be described when compared with an earlier warning in January that Taiwan not to be called a separate country.

This year already, Mercedes Benz, Marriott Hotels, Zara, Delta Airlines and Muji have been forced to apologize or change online material that did not comply with Chinese policy on the Dalai Lama, or listed Hong Kong and Taiwan as separate countries.

Read: White House accuses China of ‘Orwellian nonsense’ over airline rules

Last year, pop singer Katie Perry was banned from entering China because she had worn a sunflower dress at a Taipei concert that was seen to have supported Taiwan’s independence. A long list of pop stars has been banned for their support of Tibet.

The war of words between Beijing and Washington on the issue appears to have flared after trade talks in Beijing on Friday failed to achieve a breakthrough that could avoid a looming tariff war between the world’s number one and number two economies.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Sunday: “No matter what the United States says, it cannot change the objective fact that there is only one China in the world and that Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan regions are an integral part of the Chinese territory.”

Read: The US Trade War: How China Should React

Geng said foreign companies operating in China should “respect the Chinese people’s national sentiment”.

China’s State Council Information Office took to Twitter on Monday, tweeting: “What if Chinese #airline companies list one of America’s 50 states as a country?”

China’s civil aviation authority told Chinese media the statement issued to foreign airlines “is not targeted at any particular government, but it is part of a correction campaign that started at the end of January when the CAAC summoned Delta Airlines to immediately correct and apologize in public for listing Tibet and Taiwan as countries”.

Sources: The Sydney Morning Herald, ABC News

Yelin Qiu

The Kootneeti Team - Beijing Watch

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