IKEA faces ire of Chinese netizens for supporting 'Taiwan separatism'

Swedish furniture store the newest target of the Chinese outrage mob due to separate descriptions for Taiwan and China on product labels

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(By Associated Press)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – As Beijing continues its “out of control” campaign of suppression and “Orwellian nonsense,” badgering companies and organizations about their designation or recognition of Taiwan, Chinese netizens on Weibo are now directing their insecurity and nationalist furor at the Swedish home furnishing company IKEA.

According to reports, Weibo users have begun criticizing the labels on various products and the IKEA official website. They are concerned over the separate product descriptions, where Taiwan receives its label and text in traditional characters, while China’s label is written in simplified characters.

The state-backed propaganda blog Global Times picked up the story of these online sleuths, and in an article published Aug. 27 suggested that the Swedish company was not abiding by the “one-China principle.”

The case was first cracked open when a Sina Weibo user noticed the label on the bottom of a vase, which he bought at an IKEA store, referred to Taiwan in the same font size and manner as China and other countries.

But that is not all. Another consumer inspected his kitchen utensils purchased from IKEA on Aug. 20 and discovered that Taiwan was represented in the product label and additional materials in the same manner as Japan, China, and other countries.

The Global Times did some detective work of their own and found that on IKEA’s website Taiwan and Hong Kong are referred to as “locations” rather than “countries.”

After the devastating discoveries of the IKEA product labels, several Weibo users made remarks like “IKEA is making money from Chinese people yet tries to divide China!?”

“Isn’t listing Taiwan as a country in the same manner as China, India, South Korea, and the Philippines unacceptable? The Constitution and the Anti-secessionist law clearly states that China may not be divided!” wrote another horrified Weibo user.

After a recent debacle following an 85C Coffee store employee in California that served Taiwan’s president and took a photo with her, outcry from Chinese netizens resulted in serious harm to the company’s business in China.

Many observers have noted the increasingly nationalistic fervor of Chinese citizens, and their ability to compel the government in Beijing into making statements, which can result in unpredictable economic and political consequences.

IKEA has yet to issue a response on the matter.

(Image from Weibo user)