Guests wait outside a new Marriott hotel in Beijing on June 1, 2010. (FRANKO LEE / AFP)
SHANGHAI/WASHINGTON - A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson on Friday called on foreign enterprises to respect China's sovereignty and territorial integrity after Marriott International, a US-based hotel corporation, listed Chinese territories including Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, and Tibet as "countries" in a mail questionnaire.
We welcome foreign enterprises to do business in China. Meanwhile, they should respect China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, abide by Chinese law, and respect the Chinese peoples' feelings
Lu Kang, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperon
Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, and Tibet are all parts of China, which is not only a basic fact but also the consensus of the international community, spokesperson Lu Kang said at a daily press briefing.
"We welcome foreign enterprises to do business in China. Meanwhile, they should respect China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, abide by Chinese law, and respect the Chinese peoples' feelings, which are the foundation for any corporation to do business in any country," Lu said at a daily press briefing.
Shanghai Municipal Tourism Administration Thursday night summoned Marriott International representatives in the city, and ordered Marriott to conduct a thorough inspection of all the content, publish the investigation result in a timely manner, and apologize to the public.
Marriott International has already been investigated by local authorities, and Arne Sorenson, president and chief executive officer of Marriott International,Inc, apologized Thursday for the incident.
Those held accountable for the incident should be punished, the administration said.
Representatives of Marriott said that they have realized the seriousness of the incident, and will cooperate with the investigation.
Marriott sent out a mail questionnaire to Chinese members Tuesday morning, which listed Tibet, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan as options under the question "Which country are you from?"
The cyberspace administration and market supervision bureau of Huangpu district conducted interviews with the hotel company's representatives in China late Wednesday. And the cyberspace administration of Shanghai further ordered Marriott to shut down its Chinese website and app for a week on Thursday night.
Marriott suspended the questionnaire late Wednesday and apologized twice on its Weibo account Wednesday and Thursday.
"Marriott International respects and supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China. Unfortunately, twice this week, we had incidents that suggested the opposite," the company's President and CEO Arne Sorenson said in the statement.
"We don't support anyone who subverts the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China and we do not intend in any way to encourage or incite any such people or groups. We recognize the severity of the situation and sincerely apologize," according to the message, in a more solemn tone than previous ones offered on Chinese media that were slammed as insincere.
The company has corrected the improper actions and checked its websites and mobile apps for other possible errors and will fully cooperate with investigations launched by the Chinese authorities, according to the message.
"Upon completion of a full investigation into how both incidents happened, we will be taking the necessary disciplinary action with respect to the individuals involved," the statement reads.
Marriott has around 270 hotels with nearly 100,000 rooms in China.
China National Tourism Administration issued a statement on Thursday urging hotel and tourism corporations to make a thorough inspection on their websites and apps, to prevent similar incidents.