In a move to severely punish the biggest international hotel chain, Marriott hotels, China has announced that they have blocked the websites and mobile apps of the company in China for a whole week from Thursday. The hotel group is being punished for listing Tibet, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau as separate countries in a survey form it distribute among the premium members.
“Authorities in Shanghai on Thursday closed down Marriott International Inc’s (MAR.O) Chinese website for a week, punishing the world’s biggest hotel chain for listing Chinese-claimed regions such as Tibet and Taiwan as separate countries in a customer questionnaire. ” said the report in Reuters.
Though the Marriott hotels immediately pull back all the forms distributed with the politically sensitive information profusely apologizing the authorities and the Chinese netizens even campaigning for boycott of the hotel business, China accused the company of insincerity in its apology and imposed the ban from Thursday.
“Marriott International respects Chinese sovereignty and its territorial integrity…We sincerely apologize for any actions that led to misunderstanding on the aforementioned stance,” the company said in a statement on its official Chinese social media Weibo.
“Hotel companies must immediately review all information on their corporate websites and apps, and strictly abide by Chinese laws and regulations to firmly stop such incidents from happening again,” China’s Tourism Ministry said. “Officials must … severely punish violators.”
In addition to disrupting the company’s online booking services from blocking its mobile apps, the Market Supervision Bureau in Huangpu has also filed a case to investigate the incident, and the Marriott hotels is suspected of violating China’s Cybersecurity Law and Advertisement Law.
Chinese netizens also accused the hotel of deliberately breaking the ‘One China Policy’ after it has liked a tweet which congratulated Marriott for listing Tibet as a country and blamed insincerity in its apology.