China fines 7-Eleven for referring to Taiwan as a country

·2-min read
File: A 7-Eleven convenience store at night in Tokyo (AFP via Getty Images)
File: A 7-Eleven convenience store at night in Tokyo (AFP via Getty Images)

China has reportedly fined 7-Eleven for describing Taiwan as an independent country on its company website. It also accused the convenience store chain of misrepresenting the borders of Taiwan and Xinjiang.

The Beijing municipal government fined the company 50,000 yuan (£5,789) for the “wrongful act of assigning Taiwan province as an independent country”, according to The Nikkei.

The global convenience store chain has also been accused of not using Chinese names for several South China Sea islands as well as the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands — a disputed region that China calls the Diaoyu.

In a map used by 7-Eleven, China’s borders around the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous region and the Tibet Autonomous region were visible, provoking the reaction from Beijing.

Seven-Eleven Japan, which runs the local units in Beijing and is a subsidiary of Japan’s retail giant Seven & i Holdings, confirmed the backlash from China.

A company spokesperson said the incident was true and that it “sincerely accepts” the warning and the fine. The spokesperson said the company will do its best to prevent a recurrence.

The punishment was issued in December but has only been reported now.

The move comes amid China’s renewed diplomatic push for recognition of its claim that Taiwan is a part of its territory, and ultimately for control of the island itself.

China and Taiwan split after a civil war in 1949. While Taiwan claims that it is an independent democratic country, Beijing claims that it is a part of its territory. China is also against Taiwan representing itself on global forums and has been moving to poach its allies to cut ties with the island’s government.

Tensions in the southeast Asian region have been heightened by China’s increased military activity around Taiwan and US president Joe Biden’s promises to aid Taipei in the event of an attack from Beijing.

Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen urged China last week to curb its “military adventurism”, stating that conflict was not the answer. Taiwan has maintained that only its people have the right to decide their future and that they will not submit to external threats.

In the past few months, Beijing has warned Taiwan that it will resort to “drastic measures” if it makes any moves towards attaining formal independence.

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