It is evident that Beijing’s recent provocative activities—such as construction of artificial islets in the South China Sea and military overflights of the Taiwan Strait that inch ever closer to the democratic island—are not limited to its immediate region. Beijing’s game plan for regional and even global domination is also commercial: China is attempting to take the “free” out of the global free enterprise system of which the U.S. and Taiwan are integral parts.

China has been increasingly manipulating and pressuring multinational companies, including those based in the U.S., to toe Beijing’s propaganda line in carrying out trade and commerce in the Pacific.

This January, for instance, the Chinese government shut down the local website and mobile phone app of the U.S. hotel chain Marriott for committing what it viewed as the sin of referring to Taiwan as a country. Marriott backed down under pressure and apologized. The international hotel chain later fired an employee for “liking” a posting on the Marriott Rewards official Twitter account from “Friends of Tibet.”

On April 25, the Civil Aviation Administration of China went after international air carriers, demanding that 44 corporations, including those based in the U.S., cease referring to Taiwan as a country on websites, apps and in other promotional material. China demanded the corporations use instead “Taiwan, China” or “Taiwan Region, China.”

Some carriers have caved to the pressure, apparently due to the rapidly expanding air travel market in China. And money indeed talks, sadly overshadowing the free-enterprise principle of no governmental coercion. Beijing’s deadline to comply with its demands has been extended to July 25, with its civil aviation authorities threatening “further measures” against those who do not comply.

The U.S. State Department has publicly opposed China’s attempt to limit the services available to customers on the websites of American companies. In early May, the White House issued a statement calling Beijing’s actions “Orwellian nonsense” and noting further that “China’s efforts to export its censorship and political correctness to Americans and the rest of the free world will be resisted.”

In a joint letter to United Airlines and American Airlines on May 15, Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) reaffirmed their support for U.S. airlines under pressure by the Chinese government to “exert sovereignty over their internal business practices and the content of their websites.” Rubio and his colleagues reassured American companies that the U.S. Congress is behind them in resisting Beijing’s political oppression.

We appreciate the keen support demonstrated by the U.S. administration and Congress. While authoritarian regimes have sought in the modern era to bend the exercise of commercial activity to their own twisted political agenda, democratic countries such as the U.S. and Taiwan have worked in partnership to preserve the principles of free enterprise as a foundation for democracy. Beijing’s bullying threatens to reverse and distort these cherished principles. It is not only a blatant threat to Taiwan but to the world at large. Only by working together can we uphold a sound environment for business to grow and prosper, thus benefiting humankind.

Stanley Kao is a representative of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the U.S. The views expressed are not necessarily those of Aviation Week.