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Marriott Offends China – Take 1
It was triggered when Marriott sent out a customer survey which listed Tibet, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau as separate countries. Chinese ‘netizens’ and the government took serious offence and retaliated by shutting down Marriott’s Chinese website and the mobile app, for a week!!
Marriott was quick to apologize and took to the Chinese social media platform Weibo, to say;
we will absolutely not support any separatist organization that will undermine China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Marriott Offends China – Take 2
Turns out while Marriott was doing its best to calm the situation and put out the fire via Weibo, their actions on Twitter were gaining further notoriety – The official Marriott Rewards handle on twitter was busy ‘liking’ posts by ‘@friendsoftibet’. The post by ‘Friends of Tibet’ was congratulating Marriott International for listing Tibet as a country. And Marriott Rewards ‘liked it’ – Yikes – this is more than “shooting yourself in the foot”.
Yet again, the backlash was severe with several twitter members calling out Marriott’s hypocrisy – for apologizing on Weibo but acting differently on Twitter. And yet again, Marriott was forced to put out an apology, this time on Twitter.
It is hard to ascertain the exact timeline of how things aligned between Weibo apology and the Twitter likes, but regardless it shows Marriott in a very bad light. At least for Chinese citizens across the world, and of course the Chinese government.