A harshly worded White House statement released Saturday in response to China's legitimate demand for corrections to how airlines refer to the country's territories is at odds with internationally recognized facts and ignores the power of Chinese consumers, Chinese observers said Sunday.
Commenting on the statement from the White House, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a regular press conference on Sunday that "Nothing can change the objective facts that there is but one China in the world, and Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan are inalienable parts of China, regardless of what the US says."
"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,'' White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Saturday in a statement.
China remains committed to the "one-China" policy when handling its ties with foreign countries, Geng said, adding that foreign firms operating in China should respect the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and observe Chinese laws and respect the feelings of Chinese people.
Earlier this year United Airlines, American Airlines and several others, received letters from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) urging the airlines to refer to China's Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao.
Hou Yinan, head of the publicity department of the CAAC, confirmed with the Global Times on Sunday that the administration did release a statement in April urging foreign airlines operating in the country including US companies, to stop referring on their official website to China's territories including Taiwan as countries.
Hou added that such a development "is not targeted at any particular government, but is part of its correction campaign that started at the end of January when the CAAC summoned Delta Airlines to immediately correct and apologize in public for listing Tibet and Taiwan as countries."
CAAC will require all foreign airlines operating flights to China to immediately carry out comprehensive reviews of their websites, apps and other customer-related information channels, and to strictly comply with China's laws and regulations, so as to prevent similar occurrences, read an English statement issued on February 7 on the CAAC website.
Cold War mentality
Sanders said in the statement that US President Donald Trump "ran against political correctness in the United States" and as president he will "stand up for Americans resisting efforts by the Chinese Communist Party to impose Chinese political correctness on American companies and citizens," AP reported on Saturday.
Chinese analysts condemned the nasty tone of the statement from the White House.
"It is the US that has been imposing incorrect views regarding Taiwan to its people and companies by trumping up Taiwan as a politically independent entity which is at odds with the internationally recognized fact," Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University's Institute of International Relations in Beijing, told the Global Times on Sunday.
"George Orwell in his Animal Farm and 1984 published in the 1940s, leveled satires at the Soviet Union's system. Using such terms to attack China shows that US elites still stubbornly take China as a Soviet Union-like authoritarian nation, and are trapped in their Cold War mentality, neglecting the fact that China's socialist market economy is full of diversity," Li said
Earlier in January, Marriot International was ordered by Chinese cyberspace regulators to shut down its Chinese website and app as Chinese internet users lambasted the hotel chain for identifying Tibet as a country.
"Chinese civilians are playing increasingly bigger roles in protecting the country's sovereignty, as their voice is becoming more rational and more influential and they could deal a punch to the companies by boycotting them," Bai Ming, deputy director of the International Market Research Institute under the Ministry of Commerce, told the Global Times on Sunday.
In March, Trump signed "the Taiwan Travel Act" allowing for the first time in decades US officials of all levels to travel to Taiwan. In April, the US State Department also approved a marketing license allowing US defense companies to sell submarine-building technology to Taiwan.
Li suggested that the US should understand that its moves cannot change the fact that "Taiwan is an inalienable part of China," and if it really wants to change this fact, it needs to, at least, be mentally prepared for serious damage to bilateral ties.