We’re searching for a description of the Chinese government’s behavior and can’t decide among bullying, extortion or coercion. The White House went with “Orwellian nonsense.” Geopolitical chutzpah also comes to mind.
What Beijing did was demand international airlines — including United, American and Delta — change their websites to pretend Taipei is no longer the capital of Taiwan.
Because China claims Taiwan as Chinese territory, it doesn’t want to see any references contradicting that assertion. Therefore, book a flight on United and Taipei seems to float in space because “Taiwan” has been deleted from the listing. At some foreign airlines, including British Airways and Air France, China’s conquest of Taiwan appears complete. Both carriers list Taipei as a city in “Taiwan, China.”
This is a symbolic power move by China. It has the feel of Cold War-era propaganda, but let’s not dismiss it as simply playing games with maps.