At the start of 2018 the Chinese issued 44 airlines with warnings that their rights in China would be reviewed and routes withdrawn, if they didn’t comply with changing their reference to Taiwan.
The Chinese want for example Taipei, Taiwan referred to as either Taipei, Taiwan, China, or Taiwan, China.
The background to this can be found here: US gives into Chinese demands
41 Airlines, some more reluctantly than others, have given in seeing no realistic way out of the impasse.
Except that is for Delta, American and United. Under pressure from the US State Department well aware that changes like this mean a great deal to China and undermine US protections of Taiwan, they agreed to drop the word Taiwan altogether.
The Chinese know that having China at the end gives them ownership and undermines the islands’ independence. All part of a constant erosion process that’s been going on for 80 years.
China told the US3 yesterday that the compromise wasn’t good enough and it would now review what it will do about it.
The US3 are deeply worried they’ll be penalised – one possibility is that their right to sell tickets to mainland routes will be impeded or the Chinese will get back at them in other ways, such as raising landing fees, long processing times at airports, delays with ATC, and any number of things that could impact the airlines reputations or bottom lines.
These things are impossible to prove and it would be almost as impossible for the US government to complain about them. Of course the problems would go away if all the airlines did was change some little bits of wording….