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Taiwan thanks U.S. for concern over China's demands to airlines

ROC Central News Agency

2018/05/06 15:07:19

Washington, May 5 (CNA) Taiwan's Presidential Office on Sunday (Taiwan Time) expressed gratitude to the United States for its concern over a request issued by China to 36 U.S. and international airlines to change how they reference Taiwan.

Taiwan will continue to support and strive for regional stability and cross-strait peace despite Beijing's constant efforts to suppress Taiwan's international space, Presidential Office Spokesman Sydney Lin (林鶴明) said.

The White House denounced China in a statement issued Saturday for demanding that U.S. and foreign airlines change how they identify Taiwan and other areas on their websites.

The statement came after Foreign Policy reported on April 27 that China's aviation authority sent a letter to American Airlines and United Airlines, pressuring them to remove all descriptions of Taiwan as a country.

In addition to the two U.S. airlines, 34 another foreign airlines also received a letter on April 25 from China's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) demanding that carriers change how Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao are identified on their websites and in their promotional material, according to the White House statement.

The statement indicates that the U.S. government has gathered information from the broader international airline sector via various channels to better understand the situation and respond to the Chinese action.

In the rare strongly-worded statement, the White House slammed China's demand as "Orwellian nonsense" and said it deemed the request "Chinese political correctness."

"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," Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in the statement.

Orwellian denotes an attitude and a policy of draconian control by propaganda, surveillance, misinformation, denial of truth, and manipulation of the past as practiced by modern repressive governments.

"China's internal Internet repression is world-famous. China's efforts to export its censorship and political correctness to Americans and the rest of the free world will be resisted," according to the statement.

"The United States strongly objects to China's attempts to compel private firms to use specific language of a political nature in their publicly available content," it read. "We call on China to stop threatening and coercing American carriers and citizens."

(By Rita Cheng, Chiang Chin-yeh, Lu Hsin-hui and Evelyn Kao)

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