Beijing has increased its pressure on international airlines, including Qantas, to recognise Taiwan as part of China on their websites
The US condemned China’s Civil Aviation Administration on Sunday for sending letters to 36 foreign air carriers demanding the changes, describing the request as “Orwellian nonsense”.
But rather than backing down, China’s Foreign Ministry responded Monday by asserting the country’s one China policy that refuses to recognise Taiwanese sovereignty, instead viewing it as a rogue state.
“Whatever the US said will never change the objective fact that there is only one China in the world and the Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan regions are an inalienable part of China’s territory,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Sunday.
“China will continue to handle its relations with other countries in accordance with the one-China principle.
“In the meantime, we have to point out that foreign enterprises operating in China should respect China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, abide by China’s law and respect the national sentiment of the Chinese people.”
According to reports, Qantas made changes to its website in January when the issue first arose.
“We have received the letter and are reviewing it,” a Qantas spokesperson told The New Daily.
The spokesperson declined to specify what changes had been made to the Qantas website.
Taiwan is still listed as a separate destination from China on the Qantas website, The New Daily found.
Qantas has acknowledged the Australian government’s stance on Taiwan – that it is part of mainland China.
Earlier this year British Airways released a public apology for listing Taiwan and Hong Kong as independent countries on its site.
China’s initial request asked international airlines to remove references on their websites, or in other material, that suggests Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau are in any way independent from China.
The White House said President Donald Trump “will stand up for Americans resisting efforts by the Chinese Communist Party to impose Chinese political correctness on American companies and citizens.
“This is Orwellian nonsense and part of a growing trend by the Chinese Communist Party to impose its political views on American citizens and private companies,” it said in a statement.
Taiwan is China’s most sensitive territorial issue. Beijing considers the self-ruled, democratic island a wayward province. Hong Kong and Macau are former European colonies that are now part of China but run largely autonomously.
“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,” the White House said.
“We call on China to stop threatening and coercing American carriers and citizens.”