BEIJING/WASHINGTON – Beijing has dismissed the White House's criticism of China's "Orwellian nonsense" -- demands that foreign airlines not refer to self-ruled Taiwan as a country -- saying foreign companies operating in China must respect the nation's sovereignty. The Chinese Foreign Ministry said "whatever the U.S. says will never change the objective fact that there is only one China in the world and the Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan regions are an inalienable part of China's territory." "Foreign enterprises operating in China should respect China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, abide by China's law and respect the national sentiment of the Chinese people," Geng Shuang, a ministry spokesman, said in a statement Sunday on the ministry's website. The government of President Xi Jinping has been increasingly assertive about its claims to Taiwan. Delta Air Lines Inc., hotel operator Marriott International Inc., fashion brand Zara and other companies have apologized to China for referring to Taiwan, semi-autonomous Hong Kong, and Tibet as countries on websites or promotional material.
US retailer Gap has apologised for selling T-shirts which it said showed an "incorrect map" of China. The design featured just the mainland and not territories that China also claims, such as Taiwan. A picture of the T-shirt was posted on Chinese social media network, Weibo, generating hundreds of complaints. The company said it respected China's "sovereignty" and would implement "rigorous reviews" to prevent a repeat of the incident. Gap is the latest in a string of foreign firms to face a backlash for not adhering to China's territorial claims.
SHANGHAI – Retailer Muji has been fined 200,000 yuan ($31,300) in Shanghai for using packaging that lists Taiwan as a country, underscoring China's growing sensitivity to how companies refer to the self-ruled island. This marks the second time Muji has been hit by such criticism from China this year, and comes after a number of foreign firms including Delta Air Lines Inc. and Marriott International Inc. have apologized for similar actions. Muji, which is owned by Ryohin Keikaku Co., imported 119 clothes hangers from Japan last year in packaging that marked Taiwan as the "country of origin," the Shanghai Administration for Industry and Commerce said in a statement. The Muji packaging violated Chinese advertising law, which warns against hurting China's dignity and interest, said the statement, which was published last month but reported by Chinese media Wednesday. "The party did not properly fulfill their inspection obligations which lead to the above-mentioned goods to enter the market to be sold," the regulator said, adding that Muji had since changed the packaging and made corrections.