Sunday, January 14, 2018

The Marriott Mess

A small lake in Taitung.

The news broke like a storm across Taiwan groups: Marriott had kow-towed after sending around a survey to its global rewards club...:
The survey sent to customers asked in which country they lived and gave options including Tibet, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

"We absolutely will not support any separatist organization that will undermine China's sovereignty and territorial integrity," said the Marriott statement. "We apologize for any act that may give rise to misunderstandings."

Beijing is intensely sensitive about the status of Taiwan, the self-ruled island the communist mainland claims as part of its territory, and of Tibet.
The language was obviously dictated by Beijing. Beijing also followed up by putting pressure on other corporations to change their language. More will follow; this is only part of a long game. Marriott also had to fire an employee who clicked "like" on a article about Tibetan independence. China is putting pressure on every institution of world society: government, corporations, educational institutions (see Jon Sullivan's most recent piece on universities here). Eventually it will get around to the legal frameworks like GATT and WTO and the financial frameworks.

Someone remarked on Twitter that the hegemon reproduces in its external environment the politics of its domestic environment. The Chinese-run world is going to be much uglier than even the US-run world. I expect that one of the few delights of my declining years is going to listen to all those idiots who hated on the US nostalgically extolling the virtues of the US-based order...

Many Taiwan supporters were incensed at Marriott's decision. But let's remember that Marriott has over 100 hotels in China. My friend Michal Thim pointed out that Marriott has no choice, because it has thousands of employees that Beijing's security forces can hold hostage for its good behavior: it can casually destroy many lives to punish Marriott. Certainly this would send a message to the foreign business community in China. It would also destroy many lives. What would you choose?
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6 comments:

Jenna Cody said...

Haha, send-ups are supposed to be gentle, friendly ribbing but somewhere in my twisted heart I want them all to feel real shame for their crap writing and the disservice they do to Taiwan. :)

Wayne said...

The consequences of doing biz in the devil's den. Bruised knees.

Anonymous said...

"The survey sent to customers asked in which country they lived and gave options including Tibet, Taiwan and Hong Kong."

I can sort of understand listing Hong Kong on the list. But, Tibet? This is extremely unusual, no matter how you look at it.

Something fishy (or more) seems to be going on. Is someone trying the downgrade Taiwan's status to Tibet's and Hong Kong's; thus, locking Taiwan to China's domestic sphere?

Without a planned intention, no hotel would list Tibet as a country, let alone a tourist source, which Tibet is not. Tibet is not on the ISO country list. So, "it was just a purchased country list" is not an applicable excuse; as usually used for the case of listing "Taiwan, Province of China".

I don't believe this is a simple mistake. More is going on and will be coming towards crashing Taiwan's current status. Marriott needs to explain more. Was it playing victim as an accomplice of China?

Zla'od said...

Tibet is there because some Tibetans are not PRC citizens, but hold stateless documents through the Tibetan Government in Exile.

Anonymous said...

Someone extolling the virtues of American dominated world is so similar to England talking about how colonialism was good and civilized the barbarians.

People would rather be dominated by their own rather than be "civilized" by the white people.

Michael Turton said...

Someone extolling the virtues of American dominated world is so similar to England talking about how colonialism was good and civilized the barbarians.


Yep. But we will see that, for sure.