Zespri accused of 'violating Chinese law'

Zespri made changes to its website after a notification by New Zealand Trade Enterprise that they were exposed to political and business risks if they didn't acknowledge Hong Kong and Taiwan as regions, rather than countries. Naming Hong Kong and Taiwan as separate countries on a website is an act the Chinese perceive as a serious violation to their national laws.

Last January, the Marriott International hotel chain had to apologise and condemn "separatists" in China after the Beijing government shut down its website over wording, which suggested some Chinese regions were separate countries.

At the time China's internet watchdog said the hotelier had "seriously violated national laws and hurt the feelings of the Chinese people" by naming a number of regions, including Hong Kong and Taiwan, as separate countries.

Stuff.co.nz describes how this extreme reaction prompted New Zealand Trade Enterprise to check New Zealand businesses operating globally for the wording they used on their own websites.

In a statement, Zespri spokeswoman Rachel Lynch said the company reviewed the 'select your region' part of the website earlier this year to "align with the websites of other large New Zealand companies and feedback from New Zealand government officials".

Both Zespri and NZTE both avoided media questions about any political or business risks; Zespri now lists Hong Kong and Taiwan as regions.

Publication date: 3/8/2018


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