Marriott version of geography: 'HK independent of China'
Shanghai: Authorities in Shanghai are investigating hotel giant Marriott after it triggered an online uproar with a customer questionnaire that listed Chinese-claimed regions such as Tibet and Hong Kong as separate countries.
City officials said in a notice dated late Wednesday that they were probing whether the gaffe in Marriott International's Mandarin-language questionnaire violated national cyber-security and advertising laws.
Marriott has issued an apology and amended the online questionnaire, which asked members of the chain's
customer rewards programme to list their country of residence, giving Tibet, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan as possible options.
China claims indisputable sovereignty over all four of the territories and bristles at any suggestion of independence.
Anger over Marriott's mistake snowballed after it was posted on the Communist Youth League's official account on Weibo, China's popular Twitter-like platform.
Thousands of outraged comments and reposts ensued, many urging a Marriott boycott.
"Boycott Marriott! Get out of China!" one Weibo user said.
Another said that while Taiwan, Macau, and Hong Kong are sometimes listed separately, "it is the first time to list Tibet as such. This is too much".
Tibet is officially an "autonomous region" but firmly under Chinese control.