Letter: Communism, Omaha, and the friendly skies

Thursday, May 17, 2018 10:53AM
Communism, Omaha and friendly skies

To the editor:

A March 3 article in the Wall Street Journal related the story of Roy Jones, a resident of Omaha, Neb.

In January, he was fired from his job of running the social media accounts for Marriott International Inc. because he “liked” a Twitter post by a Tibetan separatist group that had praised Marriott for listing Tibet as a country – not as a region of China – in a survey posted on Marriott Rewards’ Twitter account. For Chinese authorities, this ran afoul of their policy that bans “damaging the dignity or interests of the state.” Under pressure from China, Marriott fired Mr. Jones.

More recently, the Civil Aviation Administration of China instructed international airlines to amend their websites to reflect China’s claim of sovereignty over Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan. European carriers submitted to China’s demands. American Airlines, Delta, United and other U.S. carriers are currently under pressure to comply.

These incidents suggest several conclusions. First, despite being a world economic power, China is insecure; second, western companies can be cowered by communist rule; and third, the West’s hope that China would adopt some degree of democracy after entering the World Trade Organization in 2001 was misplaced. If anything, the opposite has occurred; Chinese citizens face increasing surveillance and Xi Jinping has been installed by the communist party as president for life.

Taiwan is a democracy that has been self-governing since 1949. I sincerely hope the American carriers will not give into China’s autocratic ideology and pressure.

Timothy J. Lord