Marriot rejected Uyghur conference in Prague for ‘political neutrality’


The Marriott hotel in Prague refused to host a conference this month aimed at drawing attention to alleged human rights abuses in China, CNN reported.

The Prague Marriott cited “reasons of political neutrality” for its decision to decline to host the World Uyghur Congress, according to an email first reported by Axios, CNN reported.

In a statement, Marriott International, Inc. said the Prague hotel’s response to the group was “not consistent with our policies.”

Marriott said the Prague hotel’s management team has reached out to the group to apologize, the report said.

“We are working with the hotel team to provide additional training and education on our longstanding practices of inclusion,” Marriott said.

Marriott confirmed that last month, the Prague Marriott sent an email to the activist group explaining that the planned November conference would not be held at the location — after consulting with corporate management, the report said.

“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,” the email said.

Marriott International told CNN this was a “hotel-level decision” and the reference to “corporate management” refers to the management of the Prague hotel, the report said.

Zumretay Arkin, a program and advocacy manager for the World Uyghur Congress, confirmed that Marriott did reach out to the group’s representative in Prague. “But I’m still waiting for an official apology,” Arkin said.

In an interview with Axios, Arkin said Marriott’s response was “shocking.”

“We organize international events all the time and this is the first time we were given this excuse,” Arkin told Axios. “It is chilling because of the broader concept of how China is really disrupting Western democracies.”