Go deeper: The list of airlines bending to China's will

A Japan airlines plane at the aiport in Haneda, Tokyo. Photo: Hitoshi Yamada/NurPhoto via Getty Images

When Beijing first asked airlines around the world to remove references to Taiwan as an independent country from their destinations lists, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders slammed the move as "Orwellian nonsense." But a number of airline companies are buckling under Chinese pressure.

Why it matters: China is wielding its market leverage to advance its geopolitical goals — and it's working.