China flexes geo-economic muscles in references to Taiwan and Hong Kong

A report by a top government-linked think tank has listed out foreign companies that have used “incorrect labels” while referring to Taiwan and Hong Kong. The report has prompted a stern reply from Taipei.

In a development that marks China’s growing pressure tactics on Taiwan and Hong Kong, in a report, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), one of China’s top government-linked think tank, stated, 66 of the world’s 500 largest foreign companies including Apple and, used “incorrect labels” for Taiwan while 53 had errors in the way they referred to Hong Kong.

Beijing is flexing its economic might to pressure Taiwan’s pro-independence ruling party, which came into power in 2016.

The report has provoked a stern reaction from Taipei.

China considers Taiwan as a wayward province and considers the former British colony of Hong Kong, which Britain returned to China in 1997, as a semi-autonomous territory.

In 2018, China had tried to apply pressure on foreign companies, including Marriott International and Qantas, for referring to Taiwan and Hong Kong as separate from China in their respective drop down menus or other material.

The report was co-written by CASS and the Internet Development Research Institution of Peking University. As per an official at the Internet Development Research Institution, the report had yet tp be published to the public and declined to provide a copy.

A spokesman for Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said Taiwan would not bow to Chinese pressure.

“As for China’s related out-of-control actions, we need to remind the international community to face this squarely and to unite efforts to reduce and contain these actions,” said Alex Huang to reporters in Taipei.

Ever since Tsai, a pro-independence party took over the reigns in Taiwan in 2016, China has tried to apply pressure both economically and in military terms as well. China has not ruled out a forceful capture of Taiwan.


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