Taiwan Friends of Tibet (TFOT) yesterday accused the Grand Hotel of dishonesty in their handling of a row over the cancelation of a conference room to be used for a press conference and the organization said it would consider filing a lawsuit against the hotel.
The TFOT and the Grand Hotel were involved in a dispute on Monday when the hotel unilaterally canceled a reservation for a conference room hours before a press conference was scheduled to start. The TFOT suspected the room reservation was canceled for political reasons, as a Chinese delegation headed by Sichuan Province Governor Jiang Jufeng (蔣巨峰) was to take part in a symposium on business and tourism in the province at the hotel on the same day.
The hotel management denied that, telling reporters that the reservation was canceled because the TFOT failed to pay a deposit before the deadline and that the “room rental contract” that TFOT president Chow Mei-li (周美里) was holding at the scene was not actually a contract, but a reservation slip.
“They are not telling the truth,” Chow said, showing reporters a copy of the reservation document.
The top of the document was clearly marked “contract,” while the number “zero” was filled in against the word “deposit.”
“This is not a reservation slip as they [the Grand Hotel] claim, it’s a contract, signed by both me and the Grand Hotel sales representative, as you can see here,” Chow said, pointing to the two signatures at the bottom of the document.
“It’s marked here that the deposit is ‘zero,’ and that the total price is NT$6,000 [US$207], and it’s written here that ‘the contract is confirmed, the remaining payment to be paid in full in cash or by credit card on the day [of the event],” Chow said, as she pointed to the document, adding that it was also written on the contract that the purpose of the rental was for a press conference.
“This is just a regular business transaction, if there was no political consideration, then why could the hotel not honor the contract?” Chow said. “We are considering filing a lawsuit against the Grand Hotel for breach of contract.”
Responding to Chow’s accusation, the Grand Hotel said yesterday that neither Chow nor the TFOT had been in touch with them and that the hotel had been contacted by a lady surnamed Liang (梁) from a marketing firm. The hotel said it believed the room had been rented for a marketing event.
“I asked Liang, who is a member of the TFOT, to handle the reservation for us, but I was the one who signed the contract,” Chow said. “Besides, it’s only written that the room would be used for a ‘press conference,’ I don’t think the hotel has any business in intervening in the content of the press conference, which is part of our freedom of expression.”