TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — After the U.S. condemned China’s interference in how foreign airline companies reference Taiwan, Hong Kong, and other areas which Beijing regards as part of Chinese territory Saturday (all times local), the Chinese government responded Sunday that all foreign enterprises doing business in China must abide by the “one-China” principle.
China's Civil Aviation Administration sent a letter to 36 foreign airlines on April 25, demanding that the airline companies should not reference Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau as countries on their websites or promotional materials, according to a White House statement.
Sarah Sanders, press secretary of the White House, called such an order “Orwellian nonsense” and “part of a growing trend by the Chinese Communist Party to impose its political views on American citizens and private companies.”
“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,” said Sanders in the harshly-worded statement.
“China’s efforts to export its censorship and political correctness to Americans and the rest of the free world will be resisted,” said Sanders.
Beijing responded to the White House spokesperson’s statement on its website on Sunday, asserting the so-called “one-China” principle as a fundamental basis for the government to handle its relationship with foreign countries.
“I must point out that foreign enterprises doing businesses in China should respect China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, abide by the Chinese law, and respect the national feelings of the Chinese people,” said Geng Shuang (耿爽), spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry.
"No matter what the U.S. government says, nothing will change the objective fact that there is only one China in the world and that Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan are inalienable parts of Chinese territory,” said Geng, without directly addressing the accusation of “Orwellian nonsense”.
On the other hand, both Taiwan’s Presidential Office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement, expressing gratitude to the U.S. government for its open statement against China’s effort to belittle Taiwan as a sovereign country.
Sydney Lin (林鶴明), spokesperson for the Presidential Office, said Taiwan as a country had always been in a difficult situation due to relentless pressure from Beijing. Yet as a member of the international community, Taiwan would continue to do its part in maintaining the stability of the region and peace across the Taiwan Strait, Lin added.
Taiwan’s foreign ministry called for other members of the international community to be aware of Beijing’s interference in the operations of private enterprises, and to stand up against unreasonable demands made by China.