The Sad Backstory Of How Marriott Fired An Employee For Liking A Tweet

Filed Under: Marriott, Media

As some of you may remember, at the beginning of the year a few companies found themselves in hot water for “disrespecting Chinese sovereignty.” One of the companies that was in trouble was Marriott. In a Mandarin language questionnaire that they sent to customers, they listed Tibet, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan as separate countries, which China views as disrespecting their sovereignty.

A Marriott spokesperson issued the following statement at the time regarding the situation:

“Marriott International respects Chinese sovereignty and its territorial integrity…We sincerely apologize for any actions that led to misunderstanding on the aforementioned stance.”

Marriott was severely punished, as the Chinese government blocked their website and mobile app for a week. I can’t even imagine how costly that was for them. But that wasn’t the end of the controversy. Just days later, Marriott’s Twitter account accidentally “liked” a post that congratulated Marriott for listing Tibet as a separate country.

As you’d expect, the @friendsoftibet Twitter account supports the movement for Tibet’s independence, which China is staunchly opposed to, and which Marriott was in trouble over in the first place.

But this is where things take a turn for the unfortunate. The man who liked the Tweet was Roy Jones, a 49 year old working at Marriott’s customer engagement center in Omaha, Nebraska. He made $14 per hour, and said that the Tweet didn’t stand out from the hundreds of others he reviewed during his overnight shift, though in retrospect acknowledges that it should have.

Per Quartz, Jones ended up getting fired for liking this Tweet.

Jones told the Journal he wasn’t aware of any instructions on the “social graces” of dealing with China. He had noticed calls for boycotts on Twitter, but he didn’t fully understand what the flap was about.

“This job was all I had,” Jones also said. “I’m at the age now where I don’t have many opportunities.”

What is unusual, however, is Marriott’s harsh response. To address Jones’ errant “like,” a company would normally accept responsibility, Eric Goldman, co-director of the High-Tech Law Institute at Santa Clara University in California told the Journal.

“If this were his first strike,” he said, “the employee effectively is a sacrifice to try to get Marriott back in the good graces of China.”

What an unfortunate situation. On one hand I think it’s incredibly unethical for Marriott to sacrifice an employee in this way, rather than having his back. I think it goes without saying that this was an honest mistake, and Marriott should take responsibility for their lack of training in this regard. Even if Marriott had briefed employees on this, big companies simply shouldn’t fire employees for a first strike violation.

At the same time, I can see where Marriott is coming from. I can’t imagine how much money it cost them to have their website and app blocked in China for a week, and unfortunately Jones was a “sacrifice” that they made to appease China and probably avoid a similar punishment again.

So I see both sides here, but ultimately I feel terrible for the guy who got fired. Firing him probably saved the company millions (if not tens of millions) of dollars, though shouldn’t a big company like Marriott have the back of their employees no matter what? People who work in social media for companies are so overburdened. Just look at the incompetent responses they give to so many people. So to be fired for liking a Tweet that praises your company is just sad…

Marriott’s core values page says the following:

“Take care of associates and they will take care of the customers.”

Were they really staying true to that here?

What do you make of this situation?

  1. Sounds like the logic offered by President Abraham Lincoln related in a letter “By general law life and limb must be protected; yet often a limb must be amputated to save a life; but a life is never wisely given to save a limb. ”

    Corporations have no loyalty to employees so we should not be surprised at Marriott’s quick and decisive action, although it illustrates the point.

  2. This only proves how worthless a nation like China is when they hold a pathetic view of what sovereignty is and force it down everyone’s throat.

  3. Can’t they “fire” him and hire him in a different department shortly afterward? Would accomplish the same thing and wouldn’t leave him high and dry.

  4. If I like Lucky, will I be banned from Swiss first class and United any class? I hope not even though I somewhat try to avoid United.

  5. If Marriott expects it’s employees to be knowledgeable in all things global then they should be paying a higher level employee to manage twitter. Shame on them for throwing the guy under the bus.

  6. Imo, a fulltime overnight social media employee should not be making $14/hr. To put things in perspective, Marriott interns make $12, and most associates in their luxury properties make $30+. Even though cost of living is much lower in Omaha, it still seems like cheap labor to me

  7. I feel sorry for it, but this is his job. He screwed up, and he put his company in such a big controversy. Ignorance is not an excuse. He should have been aware of the situation that China was punishing Marriott for the questionnaire. And an employee at customer engagement center, of course, should know what he should “liked”, and what he must not. Again, this is his job, and he should be responsible for his “mistake.” In fact, in the eyes of Marriott, his act and ignorance may “sacrifice” the company. Imagine that a trader mistakenly or accidentally sold all his client’s stocks, which cost huge loss. Should his client fire him? Or a warning is enough?

  8. On the other hand as a company you can’t just randomly support the independence of an area that is unquestionably part of a country…Try list Catalonia as a country and see how Madrid reacts, for example. There are many words that are politically ambiguous for Marriott to use and surely it should have known better.

  9. @derek , you analogy was really bad. First of all, don’t think Lucky has that big a beef with any of those airlines, second of all, did you like Lucky in a capacity as an representative of one f those airlines? If you were, then yes you probably should be fired.

  10. Isn’t this obvious? Marriott wants to do business in China so it has to observe Chinese regulation. Blaming China for this case will apparently be barking at the wrong tree here and I’m sure Marriott has plenty of leeway of letting this employee stay or offer him a new position.

  11. the boycott started spontaneously on social media and Chinese frequent flyer community before it reached the level of app blockage coming from the authority….

    for a company like Marriott which has billions of business overseas…respect other countries’ sovereignty or at least stay neutral on potentially politically charged issues is the least they can do…

  12. @Steve I think you nailed the point.

    I feel strange about that Lucky ‘s point. I don’t know how much he was paid , but his job is to representing Marriott on social media, he was in those shoes and he failed his job. I don’t buy his excuse as he didn’t know. This was after China banned Marriott website, as an employee he should know and if he didn’t he really not up to the job so should be fired.

  13. @Norman There is a big difference in your example vs China. Majority of countries, including the US, recognize Catalonia as part of Spain. The same is not true for China as it relates to Taiwan. The US, and most other countries, see Tibet as part of China, but see Taiwan as independent. But to this article, it’s a fail on Marriot to expect their customer service reps to be up on all world politics.

  14. @ Jonathan @ ss — I think you’ve hit upon the root of the problem. Seems like Marriott has been taking a bare-bones approach to social media (including cheap, hourly labor, and clearly not enough training for the potential impact to the brand), so having an incident like this was maybe just a matter of time.

  15. Here is a question no one seems to be asking. Why does Marriott put a very low level (based on his pay) employee in charge of critical outbound media relationship? Clearly, they think this job is not critical and they have the wrong type of person in charge of that. Shame on Marriott.

    Secondly, how does the “Friends of Tibet” get to publish a photo with folks holding up Marriott corporate signs? More than the guy liking the post, I would question the post itself. I am all for Tibet by the way, but showing this photo assumes Marriott is a type of corporate sponsor. How did they get to do this?

  16. Let’s not forget this is the company that also blamed a rape victim for her assault. To say that Marriott’s leadership is ethically challenged is an understatement. They assigned a large swath of their social media presence to an underpaid, and probably underqualified, employee then simply hoped for the best. It’s their social media chief (if they have one, hopefully not just some other person making $3 an hour more than Mr. Jones) who should be let go for training employees at their social media center to robotically like everything mentioning Marriott.

  17. @Jeff , you should get your fact right. most of the countries including US and UN, regard Taiwan as part of China and signed “one china” policy.

    And this incidence was about Tibet not Taiwan.

  18. Laws and ethics are meant for plebs to keep the population in check while the rich and powerful do whatever the eff they want. Just like Rome.

    Just like Rome I want to see rich people’s heads cut off when the revolution comes. But I don’t think millennials will do it. They are just as self centered scumbags ad the rest of others.

    All the occupy wall street is finished once they found jobs (i.e wine, women and football)

  19. It’s really sad that Marriott decided to use a scapegoat rather than own up to their mistake. That shows the inherent lack of integrity in the company. If someone deserved to be fired, the company should have started at the top.

  20. Maybe if they didn’t give away so many free points on social media they could of afforded to have better talent. You get what you pay for.

  21. Steve, Norman, and Peter – Chinese govt trolls? Seems all 3 in a row commenting very positively defending China (and occasionally missing an article here or there in their English)

  22. Marriott really screwed up, twice in a row just made it so much worse. As a matter of fact, the Chinese app is still self-blocked (irrespective of where you are, it will just display a message saying they are fixing the issue).

    The poor guy just happen to hit the wrong button at the wrong time, I feel sorry for him but he has to go.

  23. China is a bully getting bigger by the day. Marriott should have profusely apologized to China but to fire this employee was a grossly excessive reaction. We’ll see if the US stands up for Taiwan when the Chi Coms decide to retake that island nation by force.

  24. this twitter and “social media” thing is out of control. why do companies need an army of low-paid workers having to read and like countless posts 24h a day? Do you understand that all hotel customers in the end have to pay for this useless exercise?

  25. Another reason to not stay at any Marriott hotel. Have Starwood cc only for points to transfer for airline miles

    That said. We’d all live as hermits if we boycotted every corporate decision we disagree with

    Not a fan of china in any way!

  26. Don’t waste your time messing around on Twitter, Farcebook and the like, that’s my advice.

  27. First scapegoating an employee is a sign of poor management. But if they wanted to scapegoat him, the thing they could have done better, was to offer him a year’s salary in compensation after he signs an NDA and statement agreeing not to sue. I hope he tries to claim unemployment insurance as Marriott will have a hard time proving that his termination was justified.

  28. Marriott, having recently acquired the Starwood chain, is in a money grab and will do anything it can to foster its brand whether that be firing an employee for a suspicious error or gouging their best customers with invented service charges. At their Aruba Marriott Resort, they instituted a 14% “service charge” on the daily room rate. When I called to ask what services can I expect from that charge, no one could answer my question. They finally had a rep from the hotel itself call me and, lying to my face, said the charge was for electricity. Whether they call it service charge or resort fee, Marriott and other hotel chains feel no qualms about squeezing their customers or sacrificing an employee to save face.

  29. This is terrible.

    People’s Republic of China 1 – USA 0
    People’s Republic of China 1 – Republic of China (Taiwan) 0
    People’s Republic of China 1 – Marriott 0
    People’s Republic of China 1 – American 0

    I will boycott Marriott for the rest of 2018 for being spineless.

  30. If China does not have the hearts and minds of the aforementioned countries….then they DO NOT have the countries.
    Just like another COMMUNIST country; Russia——they are in two time zones only.
    To say that they are a big country is ludicrous. Putin may be feared but certainly not respected or loved by all those other nations.

  31. I once got fired from Marriott for walking onto the set of the ABC show LOST. I shouted at the stars telling them they have to get back to the island. Then ABC security emailed the hotel management and filed a complaint. Marriott is a good company to work for they give good benefits. I used to stay at JW Marriotts for $89 a night.

  32. It’s futile.

    Social media speeds up the rate of rushing to judgement to an impossible rate.

    The media doesn’t cover any news that is relevant, but rather chooses what to cover like passing over the nuts in a Whitman’s Sampler.

    The government can’t save you.

    Hypocrisy is at every corner.

    The rich and beautiful preach from their security protected perches while the masses wallow in despair and violence.

    Corporations value markets far more than they are willing to take a stand….but what about our freedoms? The US Constitution?

    They are quick to attack The Constitution while remaining feckless to stand up to China.

    The world is being portrayed as black and white when the reality is that nothing is…there are answers to all that ails us, but we need to be willing to value other’s opinions and, yes, freedoms in order to find them.

    Otherwise we are simply not going to make it.

    The rate of change in our society will some day be parabolic. Anything that goes parabolic will then crash. It’s not bombs that will do us in, it is our unwillingness to respect each other as individuals.

    Socialist agendas are viruses to society, the only way for our world to survive is through individualism, competitiveness, embracing our differences and uniqueness and adhering to the laws of nature.

    The strong survive, the strong protect the weak and those that abuse power, people or the freedoms of the individual will be cast from society.

    Take a stand for freedom.

  33. Is it wrong to point out that China is one of the mos oppressive and arbitrary societies in the world because we benefit from their deplorable social standards and cheap labor?
    Same as the old Groucho Marx story:
    Guy goes to the Psychiatrist. “My brother believes he is a chicken.” So, the psychiatrist says: “Why don’t you have him committed?”
    “I can’t, I need the chickens.” the guy replies.
    We all have these weird relationships (China) that benefit us, so, we look away.

  34. Disgraceful and shameful act by Marriott. A decent employer would have accepted the explanation of it being an honest mistake and acted accordingly. It should not have been a terminal error. Unfortunately so many companies feel the need to be China’s lapdog and lickspittle. Very unhealthy.

  35. Steve & Lu. I think you both miss the mark.

    Who was the person that initially approved the questionnaire on behalf of Marriott and then had it dispatched through their resources. Has this person suffered any ill will from their faux pas…

  36. Half of the commenters here are clearly delusional. If you want to respect individualism go ask the 1.4 billion Chinese citizens and 99% will say they oppose Tibetan independence. Conveniently lumping the Chinese government and Chinese people together clearly shows your delusions. Should all countries recognize California’s independence when a minority of people call for CalExit? People should get off their moral high horse already.

  37. @Bystander – Your analogy is all over the place. I’m sure that you’re right that the vast majority of Chinese back the Chinese annexation of Tibet, but so what? What does that have to do with poor corporate ethics? Calling people delusional and insulting them just because you disagree doesn’t prove anything.

  38. I can’t imagine the amount of social media he responds to in a shift. I’m sure it becomes a blur. (Been in some form of a call center/reservations for most of my career)

    We don’t know his longevity at Marriott but assuming he did a good job etc I think Marriott should reassign him to another area. Shows action while supporting the employee.

    Hope things work out for this guy

  39. @Lu
    You should get your facts straight. It’s clear that the China Jeff refers to is the Communist China (named as the People’s Republic of China). Taiwan is NOT a part of Communist China; its official name is the Republic of China. Both claim to be the one true China under the One China Policy, but right now neither belongs to the other.

  40. Why don’t they just fire him and then give him like half a million dollars if saving him saved them so much.

  41. @David

    It is common sense Taiwan Or ROC is not officially recognized by US or UN.
    Check the State Department website.

    It is true both sides claim the “one China”, but as for wold wide official recognition, only PRC is.

  42. @docntx Get the punch line right. It isn’t because he needs the chickens…it’s because he needs the eggs!

  43. Total corporate BS. Take care of your employees first. A simple apology on Twitter from the company’s execs would have been enough in that they do not interfere in or promote political affiliations. Shameful act by Marriott.

  44. Lucky, even though I appreciate that you can look at this from both side of the aisle… you can not disagreed that Marriott took commerical interest above everything else in their response. From the beginning for bending to Chinese territorial view (mind you, those who lives in Taiwan or Hong Kong or Macau for that matter might not necessarily agreed with that view, it has always been historically list these places as seperate countries, even now, many website on their shipping page it is still listed as search. For example, all mails send to Hong Kong doesn’t get send to China first for processing.)… to the latter stage of firing the employee to blame it all to that poor guy… Marriott might be protecting their business interests in a China, but they sure as hell will have lost just as much business from people like me, since that incident, I have boycotted the Marriott brand of hotels when I am traveling. I know a lot of my friends from Hong Kong and Taiwan has done the same.

  45. I understand that it is sad for the guy to lose his job, but companies look out for companies. Working for a Fortune 500 Company, I know that. Everyone is useful, but not necessary so in other words someone like him can be replaced instantly.

    He also should know that when he is in uniform on the clock, he represents Marriot. He should not covey his personal opinions on a business platform. Personal and business should be separate.

    Also, given how huge Marriot is, I am surprised if he says that he did not receive any training or notice about what is allowed or not. Orientation 101? Ongoing trainings? Meetings? Manual book? Notices? Emails? Memos? Reminders? Policies?

  46. If a simple Twitter mistake is grounds for termination, Trump should have been told “You’re fired” a long time ago. I guess higher standards apply to those making $14 per hour.

  47. @Trolala
    Wow, isn’t it so easy to label a person like what you hve done? I suggest you use “Russian Spy” next time. I didn’t say Chinese government did anything right or wrong. I just want to emphasize that this guy should be responsible for what he did (Puting his company in a dangerous position and should be aware of the consequence).

  48. Interesting. One unfortunate click and a person is fired from Marriott when it concerns Tibet and China. Few clicks and charging my credit card another $2,700 for a room that was pre-paid and nothing happens to that person. Very interesting.

  49. Let’s put it this way.

    What if that guy “liked” an anti-semite tweet? Or an anti-LGBT one?

    All I can say is, Marriott needs to pay more on their social network team to hire more educated people. PR is never easy.

  50. FIRST, I wonder if any of you China-basher here will still sympathize Mr. Roy Jones, if he had “liked” a post that reads like this: “Friends of White Nation congratulate global hotel chain #Marriott International for listing N***** as undesirable outcast….”, or “Friends of Normal People congratulate Marriott for banning homos abnormal people….”

    I bet you China-basher would say: Mr. Roy Jones deserved to be fired because he ought to have the COMMON SENSE to know that it is not ok to “like” a post that is racist, or a post that is anti-homosexual!

    And so it is the same here. It is COMMON SENSE that Tibet, and Hong Kong and Taiwan are not countries. Or are you telling me that some of you China-basher here has always thought Tibet, and Hong Kong and Taiwan are countries?

    Mr. Roy Jones clearly has common sense. He knows. He doesn’t care. (He would have cared, if the post is about racism or anti-homosexuality. But well, since this is about some other countries fighting separatism, instead of his beloved USA fighting a civil war against the confederate, he couldn’t care less. And so he paid the price)

  51. SECOND, I do not for a moment think that Marriott was being careless in listing Tibet as a country in its questionnaire (the initial controversy). It’s a deliberately hostile act. Let me explain:

    When hotels and airlines list Hong Kong and Taiwan as countries, it is understandable, because residents of these regions hold different passports from mainland China, and hotels and airlines are actually trying to find out the passport that their patrons are holding. The only mistake in such case then, would be using the heading “country”, instead of “country / region”.

    But Tibet? Since when has Tibetans hold a different passport? Since when do hotels or airlines need to know whether you are holding a PRC passport issued in Tibet, or a PRC passport issued in other parts of China? It’s the same PRC passport!

    In other words, there is no reason at all for Marriott to initiate this kind of differentiation between Tibet and the rest of China… unless it is deliberate, intentional, and on purpose.

    And why is that surprising? Look at how the so-called Friends of Tibet separatist are able to take a photo shot with Marriotts’s boss.

    China-basher from USA can sip coffee and talk about how China is over-reacting. But your fore-fathers were not sipping coffee and relaxing, when the confederate threatens to leave the union. In X years time, when Tibet (and Taiwan) are firmly under China’s control, the Chinese people too would relax and not “over-react” over a questionnaire or a twitter “like”.

  52. @Justin What does it matter? For political reasons, it’s more beneficial for the US not to recognize Taiwan as the one true China, but for all practical purposes, Taiwan is viewed as independent (and not part of the PRC, as Lu suggests).

  53. @”John”: ” It is COMMON SENSE that Tibet, and Hong Kong and Taiwan are not countries.”

    It is common sense that Tibet and Taiwan are not countries only to people who have been brainwashed by China’s nationalism.

    To the rest of us, who know a little bit of history, it is common sense that these are indeed their own countries. Certainly their governments either are (Taiwan) or recently were (Tibet) quite separate from China’s.

  54. @”John: “Since when has Tibetans hold a different passport? ”

    What a twisted question. Thibetans have not held “a different passport” from China’s since 1959, but before then, they did. From Wikipedia:

    “Following the Xinhai Revolution against the Qing dynasty in 1912, Qing soldiers were disarmed and escorted out of Tibet Area (Ü-Tsang). The region subsequently declared its independence in 1913 without recognition by the subsequent Chinese Republican government.[3] Later, Lhasa took control of the western part of Xikang, China. The region maintained its autonomy until 1951 when, following the Battle of Chamdo, Tibet became incorporated into the People’s Republic of China, and the previous Tibetan government was abolished in 1959 after a failed uprising.”

  55. The Marriott call center is a joke. I work at the very same call center. The hourly employees, like myself, are overworked. I can assure you that Mr. Jones probably has to look at hundreds of tweets. And he probably is graded on how many tweets he has looked at. Not including any other duties. So he more than likely just glanced at said tweet, was told to give a like to any positive sounding tweet, and did so. This call center, and I blame management, has become a joke. Every hourly employee here is overworked. I am in the same boat. Yeah I have made a lot bad choices in life. When I started it was just about taking calls for hotel reservations. Now they want the regular employees to handle complaints, dealing with loyalty program issues, and up selling. So get used to hearing a sales pitch for timeshares when you call in. Also get ready for a call which normally takes five minutes to take care of, to now take 10. And that quote from Mr. Marriott is at the entrance of the building behind the receptionists desk. I laugh every time I see it. Did Marriott over react to China? Hell yes they did! China has no way of knowing the employee. Marriott corporate could have just verbally reprimanded Mr. Jones and left it at that! Now we have another unemployed middle aged man with little future ahead of him! That is corporate MURICA for you these days. I myself also have few opportunities ahead of me. See that bad choices sentence again. But I am looking into other ways to get an education and have some kind of future. A future far away from Marriott.

  56. I hope the author will follow up on this story and find out if the fired individual received a generous severance package or if he gets offered another position after a brief period of time.

  57. @blackpond

    He will get nothing. He was an hourly employee at our call center. A cog to be discarded and replaced. Now what happened to the exec who hired the agency responsible for the original tweet. More than likely a verbal reprimand. So the person who cost the company millions will keep a cushy job. Mr. Jones is out on the street with nothing. Welcome to the Marriott corporation. Keep your head down. And don’t get China angry.

  58. “It’s really sad that Marriott decided to use a scapegoat rather than own up to their mistake. That shows the inherent lack of integrity in the company. If someone deserved to be fired, the company should have started at the top.”

    Yep, THIS ^^^ Exactly. Shame on Marriott for throwing this poor guy under the bus.

  59. Given the level of disagreement in these comments about Tibet and China, I’d say that any stance on the two of them are not “common sense.” This situation, just like a number of similar ones I could think of – tweets regarding Ukraine and Russia, or Israel and Palestine for example, require a large amount of delicacy and also an education on the issues in question. Frankly, I doubt that a detailed understanding of international politics were in the requirements of the job, or that they were part of his training (he himself says it wasn’t). It’s ridiculous to expect a $14/hour employee who has no training in international politics, and for whom that isn’t a job requirement, to know such intricacies. He’s a social media worker, not a diplomat. In fact, I’d bet that even many of the commenters on this blog, though international travelers, would also be liable to make a similar mistake.

    If Marriott expects a certain job done, they need to train their employees to do that job and make the requirements clear. Otherwise, they’re just moving the goal posts and shifting the blame, because they can. I won’t be boycotting them because it’s impossible to boycott every questionable company unless you stop spending money altogether, but this looks bad on their part.

  60. @snic indeed, you only know “a little bit of history”. If only you had known more history, you would know that China invaded (yes!) Tibet 300 years ago, during the beginning of the Qing Dynasty. That’s about the time your ancestor invaded North America.

    But unlike your ancestor who slaughtered the Native Americans till they were unable to rebel, China did no such thing. Thus, when China became weak in 1900s, Tibet, came under the “influence” of the British Empire (via British India, from the south), which then ruled Tibet in cahoot with the Dalai Lama.

    In 1950s, China liberatetd Tibet and once again, bring it under Chinese control. In contrast, there are no sizable Native Americans left today to stage any uprise against USA.

    Every protest in USA by the Tibetan people against China is a testament to how China has well-treated Tibet (which, I remind you, was annexed by China 300 years ago). Are there any such Native Americans protest of meaningful significance and proportion in USA today?

    The same goes for Taiwan, which has been part of China going back to the Ming Dynasty more than 300 years ago.

    Anyway, actions speak louder than words. If you are a White American, I strongly suggest you go back to the Europe that your ancestor came from. There, in Europe, you will have the moral authority to tell the Han Chinese to leave Tibet.

    If you are not a white American, may I suggest you persuade one such white American to get out of North America first, before you arrogantly tell the Han Chinese to leave Tibet.

    So there, “a little bit of history” knowledge is dangerous – it constricts your view of what happened only in the last 50 years, instead of 300 years.

    You do not have the balls / guts / moral fiber in you, to tell the white americans (or if you are one, you yourself) to leave USA and get back to Europe. Yet, you have the cheek to tell the Han Chinese to leave Tibet (which I reiterate once again: was annexed by China 300 years ago, right around the time (or even before) your ancestor (or, perhaps it is the ancestor you wish to have? lol), invaded North America)!

  61. @David of course it matters. Views are opinions in your head – it means nothing concrete in real life. For “all practical purpose” and action in real life, the United States does NOT act as if Taiwan is independent. Otherwise, it would have a military base in Taiwan (just as it does in Japan, and South Korea). It would have powerful radars aimed at mainland China, right from Taiwan Island (as it now does in South Korea) etc.

    So, yeah, the US is already viewing Taiwan as independent, as you seem to allege. So? Action speaks louder than words (or “views”!). For “all practical purpose”, the US has not, dare not, and will not, act as if Taiwan is independent. (I am still waiting for the US aircraft carrier to actually visit Taiwan, instead of just a “law” on paper that it should visit). And as far as the Chinese is concerned, that’s enough: view all you want. for “all practical purpose”, usa and the rest of the world dare not act on their views

  62. @snic Can you explain to me why Marriott is interested in knowing if its patron comes from a region that used to have a separate passport before 1959 (according to you – i didn’t bother to go verify), but which now, for the past 60 years, hold the same passport as the rest of mainland China?

    To recap, I can understand if Marriott (and other airlines and hotel chains) would like to know if its clients are from mainland China, or Taiwan, or Hong Kong, because clients from these 3 regions hold different passport.

    I can also understand that while “Which region (Mainland, Taiwan, Hong Kong)?” or simply “Which passport?” would be the “respectable” way to ask, sometimes (in fact, most of the time) airlines and hotel chains would just simply ask it the “arrogant” and “inconsiderate” way: “which country (China, Taiwan or oHng Kong)?”…

    ….BUT, Tibet? Are you telling me that this is the thinking of Marriott: “We need to differentiate between Tibetans and non-Tibetans, because pre-1959, Tibetans held a diff passport (according to you), and this matters even 60 years later in 2018, because __________ And that’s why we need to make a distinction in our questionnaire”? Why don’t you fill in the blanks for me?

    To me, it’s clear. The initial questionnaire controversy occurred because Marriott has been “infiltrated” by pro-Tibet Independence instigator (just one employee is enough to wreak havoc). That’s why such an unnecessary distinction was made in the questionnaire. (and the refusal to change the questionnaire after initial complaints by chinese patrons). That’s why there was this “Friends of Tibet Independence” photo and subsequent twitter post. It was a deliberate hostile act on the part of (one or more) Marriotts’ employee.

    Which means, Marriotts ought to do some house-cleaning to purge its staff of trying to stage some political agenda contrary to its business interest. China has done the right thing to give Marriott one week to do that house-cleaning.

  63. While I respect the right of a business to conduct itself as it sees fit with respect to politics, international relations, etc. and I understand that their ultimate responsibilities is to shareholders and other stakeholders, I find this appalling. Companies are so quick to bend over backwards to publicize empty moves such as rescinding NRA discounts that do not hurt the organization – the NRA – they nominally oppose and which does not advocate for the restriction of anyone’s inalienable rights. Then, the same companies (not saying Marriott falls into both categories) turn a blind to legitimate restrictions of these same inalienable rights by countries like China that clamp down on free expression that diverges from the government view. As I said, I respect the right of companies to take a political stand, but when it’s so transparency unprincipled it’s even more galling than when their stance is one that I political disagree with. While I think the NRA stances are empty and only hurt customers, not to mention position companies in opposition to Constitutional rights, I could at least say these companies have core values if they stood up to true oppression such as that by China. But no, there is too much money at stake which only serves to prove that there is no principle with most companies beyond the bottom line. I am a financial professional so I understand and accept that – but be honest about it, corporate America! Stop telling us how you stand for the “right” thing and how your “values aren’t for sale” when your “values” shift with the potential for profit.

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