Ryan Pickrell, DCNF
China and the U.S. are battling it out over airline websites as Beijing attempts to force foreign companies to bend to its will on issues of territorial sovereignty.
The Chinese government sent letters to dozens of international airlines instructing them to amend their websites to show that Taiwan is a part of Chinese territory or face serious consequences. The airlines were given 30 days to comply.
China is threatening foreign airlines with a version of the social credit system that is being implemented domestically, where more than seven million Chinese citizens have been deemed “untrustworthy.” Foreign companies that fail to meet government demands will reportedly be declared “severely untrustworthy” and face severe penalties, potentially disrupting their operations.
The White House lashed out Saturday, calling Beijing’s demands “Orwellian nonsense.”
President Donald Trump “will stand up for Americans resisting efforts by the Chinese Communist Party to impose Chinese political correctness on American companies and citizens,” a statement from the White House press secretary said. “China’s efforts to export its censorship and political correctness to Americans and the rest of the free world will be resisted.”
The Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs had previously slammed China for its “overbearing use of political power.”
China responded to this tough rebuke Monday. “Whatever the U.S. said cannot change the fact that there is only one China in the world and Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan are indispensable parts of Chinese territory,” Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Geng Shuang stressed, adding that companies need to “respect the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity” and “respect the Chinese people’s national sentiments.”
The White House has agreed to stand up for American companies, however, some companies are finding it easier to comply with China’s demands. For example, America’s Delta and Australia’s Qantas have already changed their websites, according to CNN. As China is home to one of the largest aviation markets in the world, many companies are concerned about being forced out of the growing market.
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