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Marriott apologies after listing Taiwan, Tibet as countries

BEIJING (AP) — The Marriot hotel chain apologized Thursday to China's government for referring to Tibet and self-ruled Taiwan as countries in a customer survey that news reports said Chinese police investigated as a possible crime.

Marriott International Group "respects China's sovereignty," the company said on its website.

The survey sent to customers asked in which country they lived and gave options including Tibet, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

"We absolutely will not support any separatist organization that will undermine China's sovereignty and territorial integrity," said the Marriott statement. "We apologize for any act that may give rise to misunderstandings."

Beijing is intensely sensitive about the status of Taiwan, the self-ruled island the communist mainland claims as part of its territory, and of Tibet.

It regularly lashes out at publishers of books, maps or software who depict Taiwan as an independent country.

Police questioned Marriott managers in an investigation into possible violation of China's cyber security law, according to news reports.