The Cyberspace Administration of Shanghai on Thursday shut down the Chinese website of Marriot for a week after the hotel chain listed Chinese regions such as Tibet, Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan as separate countries in a mail questionnaire to Chinese customers.
By Thursday evening, the website of Marriott in China is only showing its statement of apology and visitors are being asked to book by phone or visit its English website.
The Internet watchdog in Shanghai summoned senior management officials of Marriott and demanded that the company take its Chinese language website and app offline while this mistake is fixed.
The Cyberspace Administration of Shanghai said the incident is a severe violation of China’s law and has hurt the feelings of Chinese people. It asked Marriott to make comprehensive adjustments to its website and app, and promptly report the results of its efforts to the public.
Senior management at Marriott has apologized for the mistake, saying it respects China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and it does not support any separatist organization. The hotel said it has taken immediate measures to check the contents on its website and app, and that the relevant contents have been corrected or removed.
Meanwhile, the market supervision bureau in Huangpu District in Shanghai has also started its own investigation of the incident, saying the hotel could face severe punishment if found violating China’s laws.
China National Tourism Administration has also asked Shanghai Municipal Tourism Administration to investigate the case and is also calling on the hotel industry to check their websites and apps to make sure they comply with Chinese laws.
This incident has aroused much criticism among netizens. Some netizens said that they don’t accept the hotel’s apology as this is a matter of a country’s sovereignty, while some others say they would cancel rooms booked with Marriott.
Founded in 1927 and headquartered in the US, the Marriott Hotels & Resorts has now opened 124 hotels in China.