Beijing gives airlines more time to comply with ‘one-China’ rule on Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau

Civil aviation authority relaxes deadline on changes to global websites after carriers report technical issues

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 26 May, 2018, 5:19pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 26 May, 2018, 9:24pm

China has extended its deadline for international airlines to change how they refer to Chinese territories on their websites, after a majority of carriers said they needed more time to iron out technical problems.

The civil aviation administration said late on Friday that just 18 of the 44 companies it contacted last month had so far complied with its request to make clear that Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau are all parts of China.

The online statement came after Global Times – a nationalist tabloid owned by the Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily – said on Wednesday that 23 carriers had made the necessary changes.

Chinese media names and shames airlines that refuse to comply with ‘Orwellian’ demands

The Civil Aviation Administration of China sent letters to the airlines on April 25 saying they had violated the one-China policy and would face “severe consequences” if they did not remove references on their websites and in other material that suggested Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau were independent territories.

In the statement published on Friday, the industry watchdog said that 26 airlines had “applied for more time due to technical reasons and promised to make the changes”, by July 25 at the latest.

Australia’s Qantas Airways on Thursday said it had been given more time by the authority.

According to a report by Associated Press, Air Canada, British Airways and Lufthansa are among the carriers that have complied with Beijing’s order that on their global websites the self-ruled island of Taiwan is clearly labelled as being part of China.

The three companies said they abide by laws and regulations internationally and in the jurisdictions in which they work.

“This includes taking customs of the international clientele into consideration,” Lufthansa said in a statement.

Airlines risk curbs on operations if they refuse to obey ‘one-China’ rules in Taiwan row

Meanwhile, the Taiwanese foreign ministry last week asked Air Canada to make a “speedy correction” after it moved to list Taipei, the island’s capital, as a part of China on its booking website.

The ministry said also that it objects to Beijing’s efforts to “bully, coerce and threaten their way to achieving their political objectives”.

In a statement issued on May 6, the White House described Beijing’s order as “Orwellian nonsense”.

US 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”, it said.

“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 … We call on China to stop threatening and coercing American carriers and citizens,” the statement said.

As of Saturday, several major US carriers, including United Airlines, American Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines, had yet to change the wording on their websites.