Marriott Disrespects China. China Shuts Down Marriott’s Website

Here’s a sobering reminder that not all countries believe in the same freedom we do.

China is shutting down Marriott’s website for a week as punishment for perceived acts of disrespect to China’s sovereignty.  What were these egregious acts?  They listed Taiwan as a separate country on a questionnaire it sent to some customers.  Oh, and Tibet. And Hong Kong and Macau.

According to Reuters:

The Shanghai government said it had asked Marriott to “take down all relevant content, conduct a thorough check on all contents it posted on its website and online application to prevent anything similar, and address the public’s concern in a timely fashion to eliminate a negative impact.”

Set aside the fact that Taiwan is actually, kinda, sorta their own country.  Marriott, a worldwide corporation with thousands of hotel rooms, had their website shut down for a mistake on a questionnaire.  This isn’t even equivalent to Marriott saying Hawaii was its own country.  It’s more like saying Puerto Rico is a separate country.  Is there anyone who thinks the US government would shut down Marriott’s website for something like this?

The Final Two Pennies

The article also notes that Chinese citizens took to the country’s version of Twitter to complain about Marriott’s actions.  I have no idea if that’s true.  If so, it’s equally disturbing.  Do Chinese citizens believe they were aggrieved as well?  What’s the damage here?

The only damage I see are the amount of bookings Marriott will likely lose in the week Chinese citizens won’t be able to access their website or mobile app.  Just a scary example of the difference in cultures around the world.

HT: One Mile at a Time

The post Marriott Disrespects China. China Shuts Down Marriott’s Website was published first on Pizza in Motion 


  1. no, marriott didn’t “disrepect” China. it’s china’s pathetically fragile ego using their aggregate purchasing power to bully and threaten everyone who doesn’t toe their line.

      1. that’s assuming if you actually agree that Taiwan is part of China. that’s the same pathetic grievance they against Taylor Swift’s “TS1989” album even though that’s her initials and birth year.

      2. uh, no, Taiwan has been regarded as a separate entity for many decades. China is currently posturing to increase it’s dominion of the areas around it, including the South China Sea. This act appears to be small part of the posturing, which includes building artificial islands and claiming these as China territory.

      3. Yes, and Tibet was invaded and conquered under force of arms. So I believe the order is that China force married and raped Tibet, Marriot failed to acknowledge the “union,” and now China is offended.

        1. And its not a “difference in culture.” Its a position taken by a totalitarian government, where the people of Chinese culture are given no voice whatsoever. Seriously, there is a notable difference.

  2. The line Marriot crossed is that it disseminated information about places that, per Chinese public education, don’t exist. China has long maintained a one-China policy, and most PRC citizens are taught that China controls all of these areas. The Taiwanese and Tibettan government are not recognized.

    Censorship is real in authoritarian states.

  3. Who cares? I don’t feel sorry for Marriott. Sometimes you have to stand up for what you believe in, and it appears Marriott didn’t. Have you seen their Twitter apology? It’s embarrassing. They’re apologizing to the Chinese government for that nonsense. How about stop doing business in China? Too much money to pass up? Then let them take the penalty like a big boy. It’s the cost of doing business in an authoritarian country with arbitrary laws.

      1. Do you think it would be appropriate for the U.S. government to retaliate and what would that look like? Find some vague excuse to fine or place an injunction against a Chinese company for a week, retaliate against Chinese diplomats or cut off their internet access for a week, or nothing at all?

        1. Michael, I don’t think I would retaliate. It just draws attention to the stupidity of the action. I would address the issue diplomatically. But, I think it would take something more drastic than this for me to want to retaliate.

  4. Curious if it was the Marriott or Starwood website? Starwood has a long history of being in China/Taiwan and I would assume they would be more sensitive to this. Is the SPG app /website also being blocked?

  5. Try Israel/Palestine or Ukraine/Crimea/Russia. Try using the words Stettin or Breslau in Poland. A local office of a big tourist agency was once closed in Prague for listing Bohemia under Germany.

    The US takes huge offence whenever Puerto Rico is listed as an independent country and so does Canada with Quebec.

    1. I’ll give Canadians a pass for taking offense because they actually know how to read, but who exactly takes offense in the U.S. when PR is listed as a separate country? Nearly half of the people in the U.S. actually THINK PR is a different country and that it is one of those islands that is completely surrounded by water.

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