Gap Apologises For Flogging Shirts With Map Of China Bereft Of Taiwan

Roman Schwartz
May 15, 2018

US clothing retailer Gap has apologized Monday, May 14, 2018, for selling T-shirts with what it says was an "erroneous" map of China.

The company, through a prepared statement posted on Weibo, said that it respects the territorial integrity and sovereignty of China and learned that a T-shirt in its Gap brand sold in some markets overseas did not reflect a map of China that was correct in design.

Gap announced that it stopped offering the T-shirts in question for the Chinese market and had them destroyed.

The offending T-shirt showed a map of China without including Taiwan, the self-ruled island that Beijing says is an integral part of the country.

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. Specifically, Taiwan, "Southern Tibet", and the South China Sea were omitted from the map.

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The name change came in the wake of letters sent by China's Civil Aviation Administration in late April, pressuring 36 American and global airlines to remove references to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau as countries on their websites and marketing materials. It also apologised for "this unintentional mistake and is now conducting internal investigations to quickly rectify this mistake".

China noted Gap's apology and "will follow carefully their actions and remarks later on", Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said at a daily briefing in Beijing.

Several other large Western brands apologized for errors related to territorial issues in China.

The White House has condemned China's efforts to control how USA airlines refer to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau, saying the push to make them comply with Chinese standards is "Orwellian nonsense". Mercedes-Benz said sorry for quoting the Dalai Lama on social media.

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