Zara Apologizes for Listing Taiwan As Country

Authorities in China have shut down Marriott's local website for a week after the United States hotel giant mistakenly listed Chinese-claimed regions such as Tibet and Hong Kong as separate countries.

The island of Taiwan declared independence in 1950 but Beijing has claimed sovereignty ever since.

Marriott has "seriously violated China's relevant laws and regulations and hurt the feelings of the Chinese people", it said.

Marriott is suffering the consequences after making a major political misstep in China.

Hong Kong and Macau were also offered as possible choices for a guest's country of origin in the survey, further enraging Chinese authorities.

The company for the error clarifying that it doesn't support anyone who subverts the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China.

According to reports from local media and internet users, Spanish clothes company Zara's website (zara.cn) and USA medical technology firm Medtronic's website (medtronic.com) had categorized Chinese territories as countries.

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The cyberspace administration and market supervision bureau of Huangpu district in Shanghai said they had conducted interviews with the companys representatives in China and ordered all related content to be removed from its website and mobile app. We recognize the severity of the situation and sincerely apologize. We also reviewed the other areas on our websites and apps where this type of functionality might exist to make sure the labeling is correct.

Media in China has reported that some travelers have cancelled reservations with Marriott as a response to the errors.

The CEO's statement concluded by adding that the hotel group would take the necessary actions to discipline those involved, which could include termination. It operates well over 100 locations in the Greater China region.

Hong Kong and Macau are both special administrative regions of China. It said it had also asked the airline to rectify the mistake.

Ten minutes before a deadline set by Chinese regulators, Medtronic said in a statement that it understood China's position, but the company was just trying to help its users find particular locations.

Shanghai authorities said in November they had fined a local advertising agency one million yuan ($150,000) over a Chinese map that appeared in an advertisement it produced, saying the map was inaccurate and "damaged the country's dignity".

  • Rita Burton