White House Blasts China for Taiwan Demands of Airlines

 - May 7, 2018, 10:44 AM

The White House has condemned the Chinese government for its April 25 letter to 36 foreign airlines demanding that they change their websites and promotional materials to omit references to Taiwan as a sovereign country. China continues to claim Taiwan belongs to mainland China under its “One China” policy, an assertion Taiwan, also known as the Republic of China, rejects. Nevertheless, the Trump administration has called the Chinese Civil Aviation Authority’s effort to require airlines to do the same a case of “political correctness” and “Orwellian nonsense.”

“This is...part of a growing trend by the Chinese Communist Party to impose its political views on American citizens and private companies,” said the White House in a May 5 statement. “China’s internal Internet repression is world famous. China’s effort to export its censorship and political correctness to Americans and the rest of the free world will be resisted...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.”

Notwithstanding the U.S. government’s objections, Delta Air Lines earlier this year publicly apologized for references to Taiwan and Tibet as countries on its website. Lufthansa also changed some of the wording on its website in an effort to comply with the CAAC’s demands, as has British Airways.

Since the White House issued its condemnation, Beijing has responded forcefully, calling on the U.S. to respect its sovereignty.

“Whatever the U.S. says will never change the objective fact that there is only one China in the world and [that] the Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan regions are an inalienable part of China’s territory,” said the Chinese foreign ministry in a statement released Monday.

“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.”