It went largely unreported, but in a tremendously important statement — especially following the day of praise for Karl Marx on his birthday — the White House publicly declared resistance to the Chinese Communist Party’s attempts to impose political correctness and censorship on American companies and American citizens.
The missive is a reaction to China’s Communist Party demanding that foreign air carriers change their websites to clarify that several disputed regions are firmly under the control of the Chinese state.
The carriers were told to remove references on their websites or in other material that suggests Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau are part of countries independent from China, U.S. and airline officials said.
Taiwan is China’s most sensitive territorial issue. Beijing considers the self-ruled, democratic island a wayward province. Hong Kong and Macau are former European colonies that are now part of China but run largely autonomously.
The White House referred to the demand as “Orwellian nonsense” and instead clarified a commitment to resist censorship and political correctness placed on “Americans and the rest of the free world”.
China’s foreign ministry said Sunday “that overseas companies operating in China should respect its sovereignty and territorial integrity, follow Chinese law and ‘respect the national feelings of the Chinese people.'”
The full statement, released May 5th, is below:
President Donald J. Trump ran against political correctness in the United States. He will stand up for Americans resisting efforts by the Chinese Communist Party to impose Chinese political correctness on American companies and citizens.
On April 25, the Chinese Civil Aviation Administration sent a letter to 36 foreign air carriers, including a number of American carriers. This notice demanded that carriers change how “Taiwan,” “Hong Kong,” and “Macao” are identified on their websites and in their promotional material so that the references fall in line with the Communist Party’s standards.
This is Orwellian nonsense and part of a growing trend by the Chinese Communist Party to impose its political views on American citizens and private companies.
China’s internal Internet repression is world-famous. China’s efforts to export its censorship and political correctness to Americans and the rest of the free world will be resisted.
The United States respects the broad freedom private companies have in their interactions with their customers, both in the United States and abroad. This respect is essential for a robust global marketplace.
The United States strongly objects to China’s attempts to compel private firms to use specific language of a political nature in their publicly available content.
We call on China to stop threatening and coercing American carriers and citizens.