No flouting of China's core interests will be tolerated
What if a Chinese enterprise listed Alaska or Hawaii as an independent country rather than a state of the United States? It would definitely be considered as having infringed on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the United States. Of course, none of them would be stupid enough to make such a mistake as they well know that they should respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of a country when doing business there.
However, Marriott International did that by listing China's Tibet autonomous region, the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions and Taiwan as independent countries in a questionnaire to members of its loyalty program. Some staff members of Marriott even gave thumbs up for "Tibet independence". Other foreign companies, such as Delta Airlines and other carriers have done the same thing on their official websites.
These foreign companies should be aware that Chinese people are particularly sensitive to the status of Tibet, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, which are all parts of China. There is not the least reason for Marriott and the other foreign companies to list these regions as independent countries on any occasion. They should have known that they would provoke a strong reaction from Chinese people.
They should also be aware that they have flouted China's laws, as both the country's Cyber Security Law and the Advertising Law prohibit any individual or company from doing anything that undermines the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
It goes without saying that any foreign company that makes the mistake of doing so owe Chinese people a sincere apology, which Marriott and Delta Airlines have both issued. But apart from that, they need to investigate how such a terrible mistake could have been made given the fact they have already been doing business in China for many years and should have known that such actions constitute a violation of China's sovereignty and territorial integrity. They also need to adopt necessary measures to prevent such mistakes from being made again.
China welcomes all foreign companies to do business in China, and Chinese authorities have reiterated on many occasions China's opening-up policy. But that does not mean foreign enterprises are immune to the consequences of defying China's laws and can flout the core interests of the country.