TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Burger King Taiwan has come under fire from both sides of the Taiwan Strait for labeling the coronavirus as the “Wuhan virus” in a Facebook post before changing it to COVID-19.
The fast-food chain in Taiwan used the term Wuhan virus in a March 25 post to promote its products, which enraged its Chinese counterpart. Despite the restaurants being operated by different franchises in Taiwan and China, Burger King China issued a statement Sunday (March 29) grilling Burger King Taiwan for what it called “irresponsible remarks.”
The statement read that it has contacted the company in Taiwan to delete remarks that hurt people’s feelings and said the management has made changes accordingly and was apologetic. It added that “As a member of the Burger King family, we felt regret over the ‘Taiwan region’s irresponsible act’ as we fight against the outbreak,” reported Newtallk.
The post has been modified to replace Wuhan virus with COVID-19, but the adjustment infuriated the public in Taiwan. Netizens panned the company for kowtowing to China and threatened to stage a boycott, with some expressing disbelief, wondering “Why would one apologize for telling the truth?”
The way the novel virus is addressed has become a contentious topic, as U.S. President Donald Trump on March 18 defended his practice of branding the pandemic as the “Chinese Virus,” which inflamed Beijing. The U.S. State Department failed in its attempt to include “Wuhan virus” in a joint statement with members of the Group of Seven on March 26, with diplomats describing this act as crossing a red line, reported CNN.