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Gap pulls shirt with incorrect map of China from stores, issues apology

15 May, 2018, 22:40 | Author: Shawna Walton
  • 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 Inc. issued an apology Tuesday after upsetting internet users in China for printing a map of their country on one of its T-shirts that didn't include Taiwan. The depiction of China on the shirt in question omits those disputed areas.

In a rare statement issued by the White House May 5, the US government slammed China's demand as "Orwellian nonsense" and said it deemed the request "Chinese political correctness".

A photo of a gray T-shirt featuring the word "China" alongside a silhouette of a map of mainland China-which was notably missing several China-claimed territories-went viral on the Weibo social network, prompting outrage for being "incomplete".

As an independent and sovereign nation, the people of Taiwan will not be subdued by any threat or intimidation, and any such attempts will only stir resentment from the people of Taiwan toward the Chinese government, he added.

China has been ramping-up efforts to police language used to describe Chinese-claimed territories such as Taiwan.

"As a responsible company, Gap Inc. strictly follows Chinese laws and rules", Gap said in the statement sent to the paper, adding that the company is committed to more rigorous reviews in the future to avoid similar incidents again. "We sincerely apologize for this unintentional error".

The Global Times quoted Gap as saying that the T-shirt had not been released in China. The shirt could not be found on Gap websites and it wasn't clear whether it was still being sold in shops in some countries.

A series of other big Western brands have apologized over missteps on Chinese territorial issues.

Delta Air Lines, hotel operator Marriott and fashion brand Zara are among businesses that have apologized to China for referring to Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Tibet as countries on websites or promotional material.

In January, Chinese authorities blocked Marriott's websites and apps for nearly a week after the company listed Tibet, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan as separate countries in emails and applications.

What do you think of the Gap's apology, PR Daily readers?

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