One of China’s top government-linked thinktanks has called out Apple, Amazon and other foreign companies for not referring Hong Kong and Taiwan as a part of China during a report which provoked a stern reaction from Taipei.
The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), according to China’s Legal Daily newspaper, said that this month, about 66 of the world’s 500 largest companies used “incorrect labels” for Taiwan and 53 errors had been made in the way Hong Kong was being referred to and 45 had referred to both the territories incorrectly.
Beijing considers self-ruled Taiwan as a wayward province of China and the former British colony of Hong Kong has returned to Chinese rule since 1997 and it operates as a semi-autonomous territory. Last year, China ramped up pressure on foreign companies (including Marriott International and Qantas) to refer to Taiwan and Hong Kong as separate from China in drop-down menus (on websites0 or other material.
The report was co-written by CASS and the Internet Development Research Institution of Peking University. An official at the Internet Development Research Institution told Reuters- “it hasn’t been published to the public and a copy of the same, at this point in time, can’t be given out.“
A spokesman for Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said that Taiwan would not bow down under Chinese pressure.
Alex Huang told reporters in Taipei- “As for China’s related out-of-control actions, we need to gently remind the international community that this needs to be faced squarely and it is required to unite the efforts of people to reduce and contain these actions.”
Beijing has stepped up the pressure on Taiwan since Tsai, the pro-independence ruling party, took office in 2016.
This includes rising Chinese scrutiny over how companies from airlines, like Air Canada, to retailers, such as Gap, refer to the democratic island during the recent months.
Nike Inc, Siemens AG, ABB, Subaru, and others were also on the list. Apple, Amazon, ABB, Siemens, Subaru, and Nike didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.