Taiwan demands InterContinental hotel chain ‘rectify’ China listing on website

Request follows Taiwanese president’s stay at group’s hotel during stopover in Los Angeles

PUBLISHED : Friday, 17 August, 2018, 6:02pm
UPDATED : Friday, 17 August, 2018, 10:07pm

Taipei has demanded that a five-star hotel chain used by the Taiwanese president this week remove references to “Taiwan-China” on its website, pushing back against one of Beijing’s attempts to isolate the island.

The demand followed reports that the Britain-headquartered InterContinental Hotels and Resorts group listed the island as “Taiwan-China” in line with Beijing’s requirement that international agencies, including airlines, clothing retailers and hotels doing business on mainland China, change their website to indicate the island was a part of China.

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Beijing considers Taiwan a wayward province subject to eventual union, if necessary by force.

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen stayed at an InterContinental hotel during a stopover in Los Angeles on Sunday.

“The foreign ministry has instructed our representative in England to express our solemn stand and demand an immediate correction,” the ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

Tsai was in Los Angeles on her way to two Latin American allies – Paraguay and Belize – as part of a nine-day trip ending on Monday.

She was greeted at the hotel by supporters and well-wishers, many waving the island’s flag and the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party banners, Taiwanese media reported.

Some of the supporters had banners saying: “Taiwan is Taiwan, China is China” and “Taiwan is not a part of China”.

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The hotel was also the venue of a dinner for more than 1,200 people, including Ed Royce, chairman of the US House Foreign Relations Committee, and US Senator Brad Sherman.

Taiwanese media described the event as the biggest held for any Taiwanese leader transiting in the United States.

The website changes are part of a series of efforts by Beijing to isolate the island internationally and force Tsai to accept the “one China” principle, which Beijing sees as essential for cross-strait relations. Tsai has refused to do so since becoming president in May 2016, prompting Beijing to suspend official communication with Taipei.

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Beijing has also tried to pressure Tsai by wooing away four of Taiwan’s 22 allies, staging war games near the island and pushing for the East Asian Olympic Committee to cancel next year’s East Asian Youth Games, originally expected to be held in Taiwan.

Taiwan’s foreign ministry said the existence of Taiwan was an objective fact, and that would not change because of “Chinese suppression”.

The hotel chain’s English and Chinese websites continued to refer to “Taiwan-China” on Friday.