Chinese netizens called on Thursday for an investigation of global hotel chain Marriott International for allegedly listing China's Tibet Autonomous Region as a country in an email sent to members, after a Twitter account affiliated to Marriott "liked" a "pro-independence of Tibet" tweet.
Shanghai police said the company is suspected of violating China's laws on cyber security and advertisements
Marriott Reward "liked" the tweet of the "Friends of Tibet," a Twitter account claiming to support a "free and independent Tibet."
Marriott Reward is responsible for managing the membership of Marriott Inc. It has not said whether the move was made by an individual.
A netizen named "zhongjusaodi" said on Tuesday that Marriott International sent a questionnaire via email to its elite members for feedback on its service and asked them to choose their country. The list included the Chinese mainland, China's Tibet, Macao, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
The government of Huangpu district in Shanghai released a notice on its Sina Weibo account on Wednesday, saying that "the regulator on cyberspace affairs and market supervision bureau in Huangpu have noticed the incident of Marriott International listing China's Tibet Autonomous Region as a country and had a meeting with its heads on Tuesday and Wednesday."
The regulators asked the company to withdraw the content in question, and conduct an overall check on information released online and on its app. It also asked the hotel chain to give a timely response to public concerns, make corrections on different channels and try its best to erase the bad influence.
"The Market Supervision Bureau in Huangpu has filed a case to investigate the incident, and the hotel chain is suspected of violating China's Cybersecurity Law and Advertisement Law," read the notice.
Marriott Reward released a statement on its Sina Weibo on Tuesday, saying, "We are deeply sorry for the questionnaires. We realize that this mistake would deeply disappoint our Chinese customers. For now, we have suspended the questionnaires and will fix the options at once. We apologize for the inconvenience caused by the incident."
Some netizens called on the public to boycott the company and its hotels, saying that the company "cannot earn money from China on one hand and hurt China's national interests on the other" and that "China would not tolerate some companies which engage in tricks to violate national interests."