USA clothing retailer Gap has apologised for selling T-shirts with what it says was an "erroneous" map of China that did not include territories claimed by China, following a burst of outrage on Chinese social media.
As the New York Times points out, companies like Delta Air Lines, Marriott, and Zara have also been called out for failing to recognized Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Tibet as sovereign to China, instead referring to them as separate countries. It also added that it would implement more rigorous reviews to ensure the same thing would not happen again.
The apology came after a person posted pictures of the T-shirt on Chinese social media network Weibo, saying that Chinese-claimed territories, including south Tibet, the island of Taiwan and the South China Sea were indeed omitted.
Gap, in a statement posted on Weibo, China's equivalent of Twitter, admitted that a Gap brand T-shirt sold in some overseas markets "mistakenly failed to reflect the correct map of China".
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China has long held disputes with the West over territories, such as Taiwan, that it claims to own but which Western governments do not recognize as Chinese possessions or protectorates.
The clothing brand, based in the US, is the most recent global business to be in trouble with the government of China over that country's territorial issues. Beijing considers the self-ruled, democratic island a wayward province. Vietnam, the Philippines, India and Taiwan all protested against the move.
It added that the products had been pulled from the Chinese market and destroyed. It also apologised for "this unintentional mistake and is now conducting internal investigations to quickly rectify this mistake". "ORCRP009473-topic.html" class="local_link" >Marriott International apologized profusely to China after sending a letter to rewards club members that listed Tibet, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan as options on a question asking customers their countries of residence.
Delta Air Lines based in the US and Zara the European based clothing retailer were on the hot seat as well over issues of a similar nature on their e-commerce sites in China.