China's demand to foreign airlines 'Orwellian nonsense'

GETTYAirlines for America confirmed they received the demand

GETTYAirlines for America confirmed they received the demand

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".

The White House has labelled China's efforts to force foreign airlines to change how they refer to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau as "Orwellian nonsense". Hong Kong and Macau answer to Beijing despite having different currencies and local governments, while Taiwan is a democracy that has resisted rule by the mainland.

"China's internal internet repression is world-famous, " she added.

However, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lee Yen-hsiu (李彥秀) said that while it might appear that US President Donald Trump is defending the sovereignty of the Republic of China, anything Trump does has the US' interests as his priority.

"The United States strongly objects to China's attempts to compel private firms to use specific language of a political nature in their publicly available content", the White House said in its statement.

"No matter what the United States says, it can not change the objective fact that there is only one China in the world and that Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan are indivisible parts of Chinese territory", it said in a statement.

Director of China practice at Asialink Business, Nick Henderson, says sensitivities over Taiwan were not a new issue for foreign companies wanting to operate in China, and there had been many instances of companies facing a backlash from Chinese consumers and the government.

The White House's latest statement was released as a high-level U.S. trade delegation, led by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, wrapped up a visit to China.

Usually, pressure is exerted by Beijing, which takes airlines to task for failing to identify China in their descriptions of Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.

Last month, China sent a letter to 36 foreign airlines, ordering them to avoid listing Taiwan as a country.

According to reports, Qantas made changes to its website in January when the issue first arose.

The Trump administration drew a hard line in trade talks, demanding a $200 billion (Dh734bn) cut in the Chinese trade surplus with the United States, sharply lower tariffs and advanced technology subsidies, people familiar with the talks told Reuters.

Trump tweeted on Friday that he would meet with USA trade officials once they returned. "It is hard for China in that they have become very spoiled with US trade wins!"

"My group just got back from China".

"Regardless of what the U.S. side may say or do, it will not change the fact that there is only one China in the world", foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a regular briefing Monday.

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