United States takes to Chinese social media over 'Orwellian' demand

China warns foreign airlines against referring to Taiwan Hong Kong as independent territories

White House blasts China over Taiwan directive to airlines: 'This is Orwellian nonsense'

Also in January, China suspended Marriott International's Chinese website for a week, punishing the world's biggest hotel chain for listing Tibet, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau as separate countries in a customer questionnaire.

"You would expect the Chinese government to retaliate, such as shutting down websites or banning certain routes ... but there is no reason why these companies wouldn't comply because their priority is to the shareholders, not to abide by U.S. government foreign policy", said Wolf, who is now the Hong Kong-based senior emerging market economist for Aberdeen Standard Investment.

Although former colonies Hong Kong and Macau are recognized as special administrative regions belonging to China, Taiwan is a democratic, self-ruled state.

"We call on China to stop threatening and coercing American carriers and citizens", the statement concluded, marking the strongest rebuke to date by the USA government of China's efforts to manipulate foreign companies to ensure that they meet Beijing's demands.

Sanders also vowed that "China's efforts to export its censorship and political correctness to Americans and the rest of the free world will be resisted".

Playing with fire: why are Donald Trump and Xi Jinping whipping up nationalist fervour?

The Chinese government lashed out at the USA statement, saying Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau "are all indivisible parts of China".

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The move came after the United States and China held high-stakes trade talks in Beijing aimed at forestalling a looming conflict between the world's two largest economies.

In their telephone conversation on Saturday, Pompeo and Politburo member Yang Jiechi "affirmed the importance of a constructive, results-oriented bilateral relationship", State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Wang Yi-kai, a Taiwanese social activist, who launched the satirical "Apologise to China" contest on Facebook in 2016, said that amid rising nationalist sentiment, even those foreign companies that abided with Beijing's one-China policy would find themselves being reprimanded for some other misdemeanour. Qantas' menu refers only to "Taipei, Taiwan".

Taiwan would continue to support and strive for regional stability and cross-strait peace, despite Beijing's constant efforts to suppress its worldwide space, Presidential Office spokesman Sydney Lin (林鶴明) said.

Despite the fact that a cross-analysis shows that 60 percent of them are supporters of the pan-blue camp led by the main opposition Kuomintang, it is clear that China has successfully further split Taiwan's polarized politics through foreign affairs issues, Lo said.

Qantas believes its material complies with Australia's One China policy.

"The terms that private companies choose to list destinations are a matter for them", Bishop said in comments provided by her office.

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