Opinion: Washington mustn't interfere in operation of private companies
Global Times

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(Photo: Reuters) 

Australia's Qantas Airways decided to follow good advice. It announced on Monday that it would list Taiwan as a part of China on its official website. Since in April the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) required 44 foreign airlines to modify how they refer to Taiwan on their websites, most of the relevant companies have complied but some airlines from countries such as the US and Japan have made no changes. Qantas is the latest foreign airline to amend its reference to Taiwan. 

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop expressed her concern Tuesday, saying that "private companies should be free to conduct their usual business operations free from political pressure of governments." But she respects Qantas' decision. 

The White House dismissed CAAC's requirements as "Orwellian nonsense" on May 5, saying that the US government will support US airlines in rejecting Beijing's demand. After that, the leading role in this incident dramatically changed and a few countries' governments stepped on stage. 

American Airlines is one of the enterprises that refused to modify its description of Taiwan. It said, "it is between our government and their government and we are following the guidance of our government."

Opposing foreign companies that label Taiwan a "state" has become a strong public opinion on the Chinese internet since the end of last year. As an intrinsic element of the Chinese market, the Chinese government has raised the demand that has verbalized the market's wish. 

It is precisely the US government, which asked its domestic airlines to go against China's new regulations, that is severely interfering upon the freedom of operation of private companies. 

It is not an excessive demand to request foreign firms in China not refer to Taiwan as a state. Taiwan is not a country: This is a fact acknowledged by almost the entire world. 

It is believed that in the end, the incident is not a political game between China and other individual governments such as the White House, but one that will be dominated by the market. As long as the Chinese market continues to expand, major companies will eventually choose to send goodwill to Chinese consumers by accepting China's requests. 

When Qantas decided to respect Australia's one-China policy and the Chinese public's sentiment and the Australian government said it respected Qantas's decision, the logic of the market had played a leading role. This deserves support. 

It is hoped that the US government will stop interfering in the affairs of US airlines in terms of modifying their reference to Taiwan. Those private companies are doing business with China, not the US government. When Washington said it will defend the rights of those companies, it is forcing them to set themselves against the Chinese market.