American diplomats' wings clipped

Central Station | 8 May 2018

The United States took to Weibo yesterday to ramp up criticism of Beijing's demand that foreign airlines list Taiwan as part of China. That came with the US embassy in the capital posting on its Weibo account a Putonghua translation of a White House statement that dismissed the call to carriers as "Orwellian nonsense."

The post inspired tens of thousands of comments, but rather than support there were slaps for the Americans on a platform closely watched and censored.

Several commentators called for "an independent Hawaii" and "an independent Alaska." And one said that if Americans "don't want to do business get out of here."

While the embassy post was not taken down, people trying to share received the message: "Sorry, this content is temporarily unavailable."

The White House statement came after the Chinese Civil Aviation Administration sent a notice to 36 foreign carriers asking them to refer to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau as Chinese territories.

The White House called it an attempt by the Chinese Communist Party to "export its censorship and political correctness to Americans."

But American Airlines changed its website listing yesterday to show Hong Kong and Macau as special administrative regions of China and only classified Taiwan separately. United and Delta had a similar approach.

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