7-Eleven in Beijing fined S$31,900 for listing Taiwan as a country

They had also failed to label some disputed islands in the South China Sea using Chinese names.

Kayla Wong | January 08, 2022, 05:43 AM

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The 7-Eleven convenience store in Beijing has been fined for labelling Taiwan as an independent country on its website, Nikkei Asia reported.

In December 2021, the local Beijing government had issued a warning and slapped a fine of RMB150,000 (S$31,900) on them.

The stores in Beijing are owned by a Seven-Eleven Japan, which is a subsidiary of Japanese firm Seven & i Holdings.

Disputed islands in South China Sea not identified as China's

Beijing authorities had also deemed the store's website as having used "incomplete maps of China" that failed to identify some disputed islands in the South China Sea as belonging to China.

For instance, they took issue with what they deemed as a failure to label the disputed Senkaku Islands -- as they are known to Japan -- using the Chinese name, Diaoyu Islands, Bloomberg reported.

China claims all the territorial waters within the "nine-dash line", which encompasses about 90 per cent of the entire South China Sea.

The map used by 7-Eleven was also thought to be inaccurate due to what Beijing considered as labelling errors for some borders along Xinjiang and Tibet.

A Seven & i Holdings spokesperson has confirmed the news, and said they "sincerely accept" the punishment, Nikkei Asia reported.

"We will do our best to prevent a recurrence," the company added.

When asked about this incident at a regular press conference, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said he "was not aware" of the situation.

He also reiterated that Taiwan is "an inalienable part of China", and that the "one China principle is widely accepted by the international community".

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has maintained that Taiwan is a de facto state that's awaiting wider international recognition, according to Bloomberg.

Still, she has been cautious in avoiding moves that might trigger a war with China, such as a formal declaration of independence, going by the narrative that the self-ruled island is "already independent" instead.

Abiding by China's rules

The 7-Eleven crackdown comes amid a growing trend of China ordering multinational companies operating in the country to abide by its position on Taiwan, which it claims as part of its territory.

Global companies, including Muji, Delta Air Lines, Qantas, Zara and even Singapore's Ya Kun Kaya Toast have mostly caved in and accepted this as part of the cost of doing business in China.

China has also warned foreign governments against crossing its red line on sensitive issues, telling Germany's new coalition government to not interfere in its "internal affairs", which include Taiwan, Hong Kong and Xinjiang.

China has also most recently warned the Lithuanian government of going down "the dark path" and risk ending up in "the trashcan of history" if they insist on "colluding with Taiwan independence separatist forces".

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Top image via CFP