EXCLUSIVE: Beijing has threatened United Airlines and American Airlines, demanding they change all references to Taiwan to reflect Chinese sovereignty claims
Beijing is pressuring companies around the world to follow the party line on Taiwan sovereignty — or else
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APRIL 27, 2018, 1:49 PM
- The letter also comes amid a looming trade war between the United States and China, as U.S. President Donald Trump has slapped up to $60 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods
The Civil Aviation Administration of China has sent a letter to United Airlines and American Airlines demanding that their global operations follow China's restrictions against "separatism," meaning that any references to Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau as countries independent from China must be removed.
The strongly worded letter demands that all public-facing content, across the world, must follow "Chinese law." It gives the airlines a set timeline to comply with the demands, threatening that if not obeyed, the matter will be referred to "the relevant cyber-security authorities" for punishment, a source with access to the letter told Foreign Policy.
The websites of both United and American list airports in Taiwan only as "Taiwan," without reference to China. Chinese officials have increasingly pressured foreign companies and international organizations to explicitly refer to Taiwan as part of mainland China.
An American Airlines spokesperson confirmed to FP that the company received the letter and is reviewing it. United Airlines did not provide a comment.
The status of Taiwan is one of the most consistent and sensitive red lines in mainland China, and tight linguistic rules are enforced. Within China, producing material deemed "separatist,"...