Marriott Refuses Service To Uyghurs To Flatter China

A conference of Uyghurs living in exhile, who advocate for the rights of the persecuted minority in the Xinjiang region of China where over a million have been held in internment camps, was rejected by Marriott in Prague out of a desire ‘to remain neutral’ on the issue.

The Chinese government has condemned the World Uyghur Congress, which has attempted to rally global attention to the genocide in Xinjiang, China. The decision to reject the conference reflects China’s growing ability to extend authoritarian control beyond its borders by making clear to corporations that crossing the party’s red lines will be bad for business.

The Prague Marriott Hotel sent the group an email rejecting their conference, and a site visit:

Thank you very much for your visit today. Unfortunately, I have to inform you that we are not able to offer the premises. We consulted the whole matter with our corporate management. For reasons of political neutrality, we cannot offer events of this type with a political theme. Thank you once again for your time and understanding.

The late Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson said the hotel shouldn’t be doing this back in 2017.

Do we really want, as a society, for companies like Marriott and the peers in our industry and others to sit and make judgments or points of view on people sitting in our meeting rooms? I shudder to think that we really expect that my role or Marriott’s role is to say your views are not acceptable in our hotels and that another person’s views are

…We are serving people from all around the world, from all walks of life, with all points of views, equally and with a genuine welcome, with people who are equally diverse. Our arms need to be open.

Sorenson said this when Marriott was criticized for hosting an event held by a so-called hate group. When it comes to China, Sorenson toed the official line of the Chinese Communist Party from Taiwan to banned booked to authoritarian responses to Covid-19.

Marriott’s new CEO has charted the same path. However now that the Prague Marriott’s refusal to host an event with the Uyghurs has become public, the chain is apologizing. They say the ‘corporate management’ consulted was ownership group employees, rather than the brand. Though it’s also clear why a Marriott owner would think this was consistent with the brand’s policies.

(HT: @crucker)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Neutrality would mean you accept the Uyghurs and accept the Chinese at your facility (or bar them both). What they did is taking sides. It is not neutrality.

  2. Thank you Marriott Hotels. I’m confident you would similarly refuse to allow meetings from other similar terrorist linked separatists like Hamas, Basque ETA, the various White Separatists in the USA, etc., which are basically the analogues of the World Uyghur Conference which is trying to pose as the political non-military arm of the terrorist group ETIM (which is also known as Hamas in Xinjiang). Knowing that Marriott wouldn’t accommodate these other groups, I’m glad that they’re not being hypocritical with regard to the World Uyghur Congress.

  3. Marriott corporation is only one of a legion of corporate giants under extortion by the CCP. This is nothing new. We see the obviousness from CNN, MSNBC, CBS, ABC, NYT, Washington Post, Baltimore Post, Facebook, Twitter, and the list goes on. Red Dawn is here. Not by military evasion but through corporate extortion and social media operatives. Does anybody care that China’s military is growing at a rate equal to Nazi Germany in the 1930’s and 40’s. Who is the elephant in the room now!

  4. Well we’ve found the Chinese shill: @Mak

    @Don in ATL and @Anthony are spot-on. Corporations, celebrities, and everyone needs to tell the CCP to get bent.

  5. @Anthony, you might be interested to know that China’s military is roughly 1.7% of its GDP while US military spending is 3.3% of a much larger GDP. Who should the world be worried about? Since China has no military presence in the Western Hemisphere your paranoiac Red Dawn fantasies will likely go unfulfilled.

    Let’s see what Marriott would do if Capitol Protesters wanted to hold a reunion in one of their hotels. We know the answer though, don’t we? In the US protest is “insurrection,” but separatist Islamic terrorists are just social welfare organizations . . . as long as they’re in China and not in the USA or Europe.

  6. @Ryan If the truth makes me a Chinese shill, I’m happy to be a Chinese shill all day long (I just wish it paid better) whilst I talk about the relative merits of various airline premium cabins, hotels, frequent flyer schemes, and credit cards. The idea that the Chinese are gross militarists while the USA with the largest, most well funded, most geographically spread and interventionist military the world has ever known in history is peaceful, is risible and deserves pushback. The idea that China is a uniquely ogreish police state while the USA which has a far more massive internal surveillance, prison, and police infrastructure which throws non-violent mentally ill protesters in dungeons in solitary confinement for 4 years is a land of freedom and liberty is equally ridiculous. I don’t mind responding to jingoistic nonsense like this with facts, and will continue to do so until Gary – who owns this site and makes the rules decides it’s not allowed – since I am at root a radical capitalist and private property absolutist.

  7. Let’s Go Vichy Marriott! Let us all know when you round up all your Uyghur guests and send them off to camps in China.

  8. @Mak: Yes, you’re the Chinese shill. Neutrality would be refusing service to both CCP activities and Uyghur support groups. Or, better yet, serving both. But that’s not what these guys did. As for your comparisons, I love how you toss “white supremacist” groups in there. So, would that be the 20-member KKK or would it simply be anyone who doesn’t agree with CRT (which is how they’re defining it now)?

    Either way, neither definition of “white supremacists” enslaves and involuntarily sterilizes people the way that the heartless commies in the CCP do to Uyghurs.

  9. This is the kind of power China has over the USA and its companies. If Marriott doesn’t play by Xi Jinping’s rules, they’ll get kicked out of mainland China. If Biden tries to support Taiwan independence, the CCP will retaliate by banning all Apple products in China.

  10. @AngryFlyer Who said they should be neutral? I’m not neutral when it comes to choosing sides against a legal political party and a terrorist front, so why should Marriott be? Marriott no doubt is happy to rent space to the USA’s only two de facto political parties, so why shouldn’t they rent to China’s one? I think though that you’ve inadvertently hit on a good point about US cancel culture and the fact that the United States doesn’t really have diversity of opinion as an acceptable value anymore . . . so why is China really so different or worse in banning a front for a violent terrorist group like the US itself does with say Hezbollah and the ETIM (before Joe Biden decided that terrorism against Chinese wasn’t that big a deal)?

  11. @Pm Yours has to be the funniest and most ironic of all the comments above. The power that China has over companies? How about the obscene power that the US has over foreign companies that it imposes upon them despite the remote connection to the USA. The US jails are full of foreign business people who do no business in the USA who have nonetheless run afoul of US sanctions regimes and anti-corruption statutes. The US pressured foreign semiconductor equipment manufactures like ASML to embargo Chinese semiconductor manufacturers in a seeming attempt to goad China into war like FDR did with Japan by embagoing oil. The US causes Chinese executives to be arrested – as it did with Meng Wanzhou in Canada who was held for years before the nonsense “charges” were quietly dropped – for bullshit allegations. It is the USA, and not China, which can properly be accused of arrogantly imposing its views on foreign companies, and whatever China does fails to rise to anywhere near the same level of world hegemony.

  12. For decades the Chinese Communists merely oppressed their own people; now they are moving aggressively to secure regional military domination. When I was in Shanghai I asked me tour guide (a private tour with only a driver present, who presumably didn’t know English) what percentage of the Chinese people actually believe in Communism. His reply startled me: “The members of the Central Committee of the Communist Party don’t even believe in Communism; it is just their method to keep control.”

    The story of Marriott and other corporations is that there is more money in appeasing the CCP than there is in hosting Uyghurs.

  13. notice how no one talks about “Free Tibet” anymore. the ccp shut all those bleeding heart celebrities down. the ccp is trying to do the same thing with Taiwan but the ccp can not show when it has ever controlled the island.

    you know the Uyghur problem is bad when the right wing British Broadcasting Corporation runs a number of articles.

  14. It’s a real problem that an international company cow tails to one government.
    What happened to free and fair trade. Perhaps the world should simply stop doing business with a that is out to destroy all business they don’t own.

  15. Someone has way too much time on their hands – or it’s their job to spread CCP propaganda. ETIM may not even exist and appears to mainly be the creation of the CCP in an effort to discredit human rights campaigners. The mish-mash of pro-China, anti-US talking points can only come from an extremist somewhere on the far right or left of the political spectrum that’s waaay too familiar with the issue to be a casual observer.

    If you’re on China’s side in the Uyghur dispute, you’re on the wrong side.

  16. Opposing the freedom of people to be separate, independent, practice self determination, and self rule is the definition of slavery. We have that in the U.S. where Whites, Christians, and Conservatives are denied their freedom to operate as they please and make decisions for their lives. There is zero difference between the U.S. where leftist democracy means 51% enslave the other 49% and China where the ccp makes the rules. It amounts to the same thing. Of course Marriott opposes allowing that group from China to lease its facilities. It probably would do the same thing in the U.S. for any White/Christian/Conservative group that doesn’t support leftists telling us what to do or a system we didn’t consent to.

  17. @Mak “thou doth protesth too much”
    You’d have some credibility… and would be less likely to come across a mouthpiece of the CCP if you actually admitted to some of the issues with the CCP and China.

    It’s not about whether China is slightly better than another bad country or act. If that’s the measure, then the world is poorer for it.

    There is nothing even close to open, let alone free, speech in China: you can disappear for simply voicing you were sexually assaulted by a CCP official, you can’t lampoon your Premier with Winnie the Pooh, you can’t have an open conversations about all those that died in Tiananmen Square in 1989 and so on

  18. Staying neutral by choosing sides… how novel. Even with Marriott’s descent from highly moral company into cheerfully espousing amorality, this is a new low. What’s next, refusing a Schindler Jews’ reunion because that might piss someone off as well? Disgusting.

  19. @Mak is correct. Discrimination is now in vogue again. Soon it will be possible and acceptable to ban blacks, Mexicans, Baptists, gays, red-headed strangers or whomever else a company desires from any product or service establishment. Including airlines. China leads the way. Perhaps other countries will follow suit and build concentration, er, uh, “education” camps for those groups deemed unacceptable.

    Who’d have thought, in these modern times, that we’d regress. History has a way of repeating itself.

  20. @Mak, what a sad position to be in. You attack the U.S. for having and exercising the power and influence that comes with being the dominant world power, economically and militarily Post WW-II, and our imperfect history. Then you act as though China’s current actions of military aggression, economic interference, business influence that requires adherence or downright allegiance to their speech limitations, lack of freedom and oppression over their own people are excusable, because all China really wants is to surpass the U.S. and be the next dominant world power. Obviously if people like you succeed in tearing down the U.S. and allowing China their way, the world will be a tremendously less free place.

    You can attack American openly in the free world’s internet and support China, publicly, even in U.S. elected office if you like, with no consequences or risk to yourself. The same is NOT true in China, you cannot dissent against China and support the U.S. in their censored and controlled internet, much less publicly, or in their houses of government. Enough said.

  21. … living in exhile? Your spell check not working!

    In that same first paragraph, it seems like you are pushing warmongering establishment propaganda, “… the persecuted minority in the Xinjiang region of China where over a million have been held in internment camps …” I recall when Dubya invited the world to join his crusade against Islamist fundamentalism and encouraged nations around the world to fight this “menace”. In fact, some of the locked up people at Guantanamo are Chinese Uyghurs, not to mention many (Uyghur Jihadists) who are fighting in Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere. So when it suit our interests, we look the other way. Lest not forget that our own government (police) is extrajudicially executing a certain segment of our society – we should clean up our mess before worrying about the others’.

  22. @Kalboz – “Lest not forget that our own government (police) is extrajudicially executing a certain segment of our society – we should clean up our mess before worrying about the others”

    You’re going to have to back that up with some evidence.

  23. @HiAperture I am not “tearing down” the United States, but simply recognizing – as most Americans refuse to do – that their nation has made the choice to abandon the classically liberal values of peace and free markets that once made it a great country and set it on a path of steady interminable decline, while China abandoned Communism in the 80s in every real sense and harnessed markets to lift a billion people out of miserable poverty and build a great nation. While China traded ideology for practicality, the USA went in the exact opposite direction. US cities are decrepit while the government chases empire and ideological dreams like “Build Back Better” – a Maoist slogan if there ever was one – while China builds beautiful cities with modern accoutrements that the government in the USA is plainly incapable of providing – compare a train stations, airports, roads, etc. in China with those in the USA and ask yourself which government is more competent and concerned with public welfare.

    @C_M If you ask me if I’m on the side of bronze age Islamic zealots who commit terrorist atrocities and fight for the right to impose backwardness in Xinjiang whether its residents want it or not, or the Chinese who stand athwart them, I don’t have to think twice about it.

  24. Mak hates Muslims so much that he chooses to stand with the Chinese Communist Party in favor of China’s state agents gang raping Uighur girls, engaging in forced abortions, and forced sterilizations.

  25. Marriott needs lessons from the Women’s Tennis Association and stand up against bullying by the People’s Republic of China even if it costs it business.

    Perhaps some other Marriott-affiliated property has an owner who doesn’t kiss the PRC ring and submit to the wishes of the PRC and its apologists.

  26. @C_M you are not holding @Gary under the same burden of proof standard for his unsubstantiated allegations (he is actually just mimicking the establishment media), “… the persecuted minority in the Xinjiang region of China where over a million have been held in internment camps …” Do we all remember the imaginary Kuwait baby incubators fake story that drove the narrative into manufacturing consent and the eventual US wars in the middle east??? Or, the Collin Powell UN BS testimony faking evidence (they were laughingly cartoonish) for the war on Iraq??? Or, the debunked stories of chemical attacks by the Syrian regime???

    FYI, Since 2013, police in the US have killed over 2,400 African-Americans (or one every single day) that didn’t need to be killed – google it or any of the above to find the truth!

  27. I called out as a fake the Kuwaiti ambassador’s daughter before the first Iraq War. I called out the fake Iraqi WMD threat.

    What the PRC state agents are doing in Xinjiang is unfortunately the real deal in terms of extremely ugly activity given green lights from the very top parts of the PRC apparatus.

    How many girls from Xinjiang have been raped by the PRC’s “security forces” since 2013? There is no faking that it’s happened and happened a lot. But good luck getting the PRC’s kiss-ups in Pakistan, the oil-selling GCC countries and the other PRC-bootlickers to acknowledge ugly behavior in China coming on direction and under protection from the very top parts of the PRC apparatus.

  28. Well if Marriott was gonna do the right thing they would pull the franchise rights from the owners of that location. Shame on anyone who thinks this is remotely appropriate. Growing tired of big corporations bending the knee to the Chinese government. The people who read this article and then try to denounce the US government which has nothing to do with this article are pushing agendas. Can’t stand people who rush out to defend this type of nonsense by engaging in whataboutism. That just shows they really don’t have a defense at all.

  29. @GUWonder “What the PRC state agents are doing in Xinjiang is unfortunately the real deal in terms of extremely ugly activity given green lights from the very top parts of the PRC apparatus.”

    You might chose to believe so, but many of us who have done research on the matter disagree and believe that these allegations are trumped up – literally and figuratively – by those looking an excuse for the war footing the US has taken in China. If you bothered to view the scant evidence you would see that most of these claims are propaganda from the same propaganda machine feeding the rest of Hamas and don’t stand up to any scrutiny.

    @Bill You might use the fashionable millennial word “whataboutism” for pointing out that we ignore similar and often far more egregious acts by other countries, including our own. While this does nothing to absolve China to whatever extent it has engaged in excesses (as all governments are), it certainly proves the hypocrisy of those who think that China should be held to a different standard and singled out for special ridicule not leveled at others. Unless you think that Hamas or the Irish Republican Army, or Basque ETA – functional equivalents of the Uyghur Congress/ETIM – should be accommodated by Marriott, don’t try and convince me that a different standard should now apply here. Marriott should not be pressured into complicity with their crimes.

  30. Mak is still researching about the election that had Biden win and become US President. Whatever we know, Mak and his fellow travelers who have done research on the matter disagree and believe that these allegations of Trump losing to Biden are trumped up – literally and figuratively – by those looking an excuse to not Make America Great Again. If we bothered to view their huge evidence we would see that most of these claims about Biden winning and being US President are propaganda from the same propaganda machine feeding the rest of the mainstream media and don’t stand up to any scrutiny.

    ….. now time to get back to reality by acknowledging China is a national terrorist organization currently engaged in atrocities against its own citizens on a scale that simply doesn’t exist in the US.

  31. Time and time again Marriott Head Office has refused to accept any kind of responsibility for decisions taken. They blame the owner; they blame the lower management; they blame their guests… Executives with too much pocket money behave like the spoilt adolescents they are – they bully, they accuse, they act in denial. Ethically, Marriott is running on empty; the entire board and executive team should be cast aside immediately

  32. Maybe VFTW will entertain us with a take on Marriott having recently added a hotel called The Socialist. What will Marriott say about that?

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