China fines 7-Eleven for calling Taiwan a nation on map

Fines of about 150,000 yuan (S$32,000) were imposed by the Beijing local authority against Seven & i. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

BEIJING (BLOOMBERG) - Seven & i Holdings Co's China-based convenience store business 7-Eleven was fined for identifying Taiwan as an independent state on its website, the latest crackdown by the country against companies over its stance on disputed territories.

Fines of about 150,000 yuan (S$32,000) were imposed by the Beijing local authority against Seven & i, a spokesman for the Japanese retailer said, confirming an earlier Nikkei newspaper report.

Enterprises operating in China - from Gap Inc and Daimler AG, to airlines including United Continental Holdings Inc and ANA Holdings Inc - have apologised or changed their websites after depicting Taiwan as a separate state.

China regards Taiwan as a renegade province to be reunified, by force if necessary. The companies usually comply, accepting it as part of the cost of doing business in China.

Seven & i "is taking the issue seriously and making sure to prevent a recurrence," the company's spokesman said.

In December, Beijing's municipal authorities issued the fine and warning, according to a government-linked credit information website.

Seven & i also failed to put Chinese names for some South China Sea islands as well as for the disputed Diaoyu islands, known as Senkaku in Japan.

The map contained errors in labelling some borders along the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region and Tibet Autonomous Region, the report on the website said.

While Hong Kong and Macau are special administrative regions that enjoy greater autonomy, Beijing also often objects to references indicating that they are independent.

China has been stepping up military and political pressure against Taiwan, with increased military patrols around the island, with more expected in 2022.

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