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Airlines Apparently Caving to China's 'Orwellian Nonsense'

But major US airlines, including American, Delta, United, have not
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 22, 2018 11:22 AM CDT
In this June 12, 2012, file photo, an Air China flight attendant stands near model planes at the International Air Transport Association 68th Annual General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit in Beijing.   (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File)
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(Newser) – International airlines are obeying Beijing's demands to refer to Taiwan as a part of China, despite the White House's call this month to stand firm against "Orwellian nonsense." The AP found 20 carriers, including Air Canada, British Airways, and Lufthansa, now refer to Taiwan as a part of China on their global websites. US airlines, however, are resisting. There are just three days left for dozens of foreign airlines to comply with Beijing's orders, or face consequences that could cripple their China business. Many have already sided with Beijing. The spread of "Taiwan, China" on the drop-down menus and maps of airline websites represents another victory for China's President Xi Jinping's nationalistic effort to force foreign companies to conform to their geopolitical vision.

"What's at stake is that we're allowing a revisionist regime with a terrible track record on freedom of speech to dictate what we say and write in our own countries," says a senior fellow with the China Policy Institute. The list of multinationals that have bent to Beijing's will is growing, including Air Canada, Lufthansa, British Airways, Finnair, Garuda Indonesia, Asiana Airlines, and Philippine Airlines. SAS airlines, Swissair, Malaysia Airlines, Cebu Pacific Air, Aeroflot, Italy's Alitalia, Austrian Airlines, Air Mauritius, Etihad Airways, Spain's Iberia, Israel's EL AL, MIAT Mongolian Airlines and Russia's S7 Airlines all also refer to Taiwan as part of China, but it was not clear how long they had been using that formulation. Major US carriers have not caved, including United Airlines, American Airlines, Delta, and Hawaiian Airlines, as well as Australia's Qantas Airways.

(Read more China stories.)

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