China orders probe into Marriott for listing Tibet as country

Marriott forced to issue apology after China error

The moves follow a regulator's decision on Thursday to suspend Marriott International Inc's Chinese website for a week to punish the world's biggest hotel chain for listing Tibet, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau as separate countries in a customer questionnaire.

"Cyberspace is not an extralegal place, and multinational corporations should abide by relevant laws and regulations", the Shanghai Cyberspace Authority said on its microblog account.

Marriott has said it was "deeply sorry" and wished to "reiterate our usual stand in respecting China's sovereignty and territorial integrity".

Visitors to Delta's complaint and comment section on its Chinese website could select Tibet and Taiwan as countries which they were from, as of Friday morning in China.

Medtronic had also put "Republic of China (Taiwan)" on one of its websites, the office said in a WeChat post, giving both companies until 6 pm local time to apologise.

Zara added a three-sentence statement to its website expressing "sincere apologies" and said it would conduct a "self-examination".

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"We apologize profoundly for any behavior that will cause misunderstanding about the above stance". Hong Kong and Macau became British and Portuguese territories, respectively, in the age of European colonialism but are now "special administrative regions" under China.

It triggered an uproar on Chinese social media as Tibet is an "autonomous region" firmly under Chinese control since the 1950s.

Taiwan has been self-ruled since a 1949 civil war split from the mainland, but Beijing continues to claim sovereignty over the island.

USA hotel chain Marriott's chief executive officer (CEO) has apologised for listing Tibet, among other parts of China, as an independent country in a questionnaire, and promised to take measures to prevent such incidents.

The U.S. company issued an apology earlier in the day for the gaffe, which had drawn accusations of disrespecting Chinese sovereignty and calls for a boycott by angry netizens on Weibo, China's version of Twitter.

"We will be taking the necessary disciplinary action with respect to the individuals involved, which could include termination, changing our approval and review procedures for online content, reviewing our customer feedback channels, and enhancing training to ensure these situations don't happen again". Unfortunately, twice this week, we had incidents that suggested the opposite: First, by incorrectly labelling certain regions within China, including Tibet, as countries in a drop-down menu on a survey we sent out to our loyalty members; and second, in the careless "like" by an associate of a tweet that incorrectly suggested our support of this position.

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