A Snickers product launch that named Taiwan a country has prompted parent company Mars Wrigley to apologize after backlash on Chinese social media.
Most important points:
- The limited edition Snickers bar was advertised as being available in the “country” Taiwan
- Mars Wrigley was further criticized for not saying in his apology that Taiwan was part of China
- Backlash follows Nancy Pelosi’s controversial visit to the island
Videos and photos from a Snickers website promoting a limited edition Snickers bar and saying the product is only available in the “countries” of South Korea, Malaysia and Taiwan sparked an outburst of anger on Chinese social media platform Weibo on Friday. .
Mars Wrigley later posted an apology on his Snickers China Weibo account, saying the relevant content had been changed.
“Mars Wrigley respects China’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity and conducts its business in strict compliance with local Chinese laws and regulations,” said Mars Wrigley.
However, the social media backlash did not subside as many users were outraged. The US company’s statement did not state that Taiwan was part of China, a cornerstone of Chinese foreign policy.
“Say it: Taiwan is an inseparable part of China’s territory!” read a comment below the post on the Snickers China Weibo account.
Snickers among many to apologize
The issue of Taiwan is a hangover from a brutal civil war in China that ended in 1949 when defeated nationalists fled to the island while the victorious Chinese Communist Party took control of mainland China.
Beijing considers Taiwan part of its territory and has never ruled out using force to gain control of the island.
Taiwan rejects China’s sovereignty claims, saying only the people can decide the island’s future.
Snickers joins a long list of foreign brands that have had to apologize after being accosted by Chinese social media users for not using Beijing’s preferred nomenclature for the island: Taiwan Province or Taiwan (China).
The outcry over the Snickers ad came as sensitivities around Taiwan in mainland China hit their highest point in decades after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island on Tuesday.
It prompted China to announce unprecedented target practice around the island and a long list of import bans on Taiwanese products.
On China’s heavily censored social media platforms, calls for Beijing to launch a military attack on Taiwan in response to Pelosi’s visit have been widespread.