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Gap in hot water with China over T-shift snafu

15 May, 2018, 22:43 | Author: Sara Gill
  • China calls democratic Taiwan one of its provinces despite nearly seven decades of separate governance. The island was omitted from Gap's latest T-shirt design

Gap is the latest of several companies that have apologized for perceived slights to China's sovereignty. It was unclear if the shirts in all of Gap's markets worldwide would also be destroyed.

U.S. clothing retailer Gap has apologised to China over a T-shirt with a map showing the mainland but omitting Taiwan, becoming the latest foreign firm to run afoul of Beijing's policy on the self-ruling island.

Gap issued an apology late Monday on its Weibo account, saying it "respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China".

According to social media site Weibo, the map printed on the Gap T-shirt, which is now being sold in Canada, did not show the Chinese claimed territories, forcing the retail giant to apologize.

In a tweet, People's Daily showed the offending T-shirt alongside what it considers to be the correct map.

Most recently, the Chinese Civil Aviation Administration ordered a number of air carriers, including U.S. airlines, to identify Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau as Chinese regions on their websites.


Taiwan is China's most sensitive territorial issue.

"This is Orwellian nonsense and part of a growing trend by the Chinese Communist Party to impose its political views on American citizens and private companies", it said in a statement.

The photos were taken at a Gap shop in Canada's Niagara region, China's state-owned Global Times said.

Other US companies which have issued apologies for similar incidents include Delta Air Lines and Marriott International Inc.

In January, China forced US-based hotel chain Marriott International to shut down and "conduct a full content inspection" of its Chinese website and mobile app after a questionnaire that listed Taiwan and Tibet as individual countries led to complaints. Last year, German carmaker Audi was in hot water for omitting Taiwan and parts of western China on a map used at their annual meeting, while Mercedes-Benz apologized in February for quoting the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibet, on Instagram. But Gap's China headquarters in Shanghai said the T-shirt had not been released in China.

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