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Chinese authorities in Shanghai took down Marriott International's Chinese website for a week after the US hotel chain listed Tibet, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau as separate countries.

Chinese authorities also reproached the fashion brand Zara and medical device maker Medtronic for referring to Taiwan as a country on their websites. "We recognize the severity of the situation and sincerely apologise", the statement said.

Following a preliminary investigation, the hotel's behaviour has been found to violate both the Cyber Security Law of the People's Republic of China and the Advertising Law of the People's Republic of China. It asked to respondents to select their country of residence, and gave Tibet, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan as options alongside China.

Hong Kong and Macau are former British and Portuguese colonies, respectively, that are now "special administrative regions" under China.

Marriott, the world's largest hotel chain, posted an apology on the Chinese microblogging platform Weibo on Tuesday after Chinese netizens spotted the controversial listing in a questionnaire sent to customers.

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In response, the country's internet regulator has accused Marriott International of breaking Chinese law and ordered it to close its Chinese website and online booking applications for a week.

Tibet is officially an "autonomous region" but firmly under Chinese control.

Taiwan and the mainland split in 1949 after a civil war but the Communist Beijing government claims the island as its territory.

Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, and Tibet are all parts of China, which is not only a basic fact, but also the consensus of the worldwide community, spokesperson Lu Kang said at a daily press briefing.

"We never support any separatist organisation that damages China's sovereignty and territorial integrity", it says.

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"I think this is the basic principle for foreign countries to conduct operations and investment in other countries".

USA hotel chain Marriott's chief executive officer (CEO) has apologised for listing Tibet, among other parts of China, as an independent country in a questionnaire, and promised to take measures to prevent such incidents.

Marriott International respects and supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China.

"We will be taking the necessary disciplinary action with respect to the individuals involved, which could include termination, changing our approval and review procedures for online content, reviewing our customer feedback channels, and enhancing training to ensure these situations don't happen again". An executive who answered the phone at Zara's Shanghai office was not able to immediately comment.

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