Gap apologises for 'incorrect' Chinese map on T-shirts

Gladys Abbott
May 16, 2018

China dismissed that criticism, saying companies operating in the country must respect its sovereignty.

According to the Washington Post, it also drew ire for not correctly demarcating China's claimed territory in the South China Sea.

Marriott and Gap aren't alone in causing offence to China, Delta Air Lines recently issued a public apology for what it described as a "grave mistake" after listing Taiwan and Tibet as independent countries on its website.

The T-shirt omits territories claimed by China, including parts of southern Tibet, Taiwan and the South China Sea.

The U.S. clothing retailer Gap apologized Tuesday for selling T-shirts with a map of China that didn't include self-ruled Taiwan, the latest example of corporate kowtowing to Beijing.

Taiwan's Foreign Minister Joseph Wu told reporters that China pressuring companies like Gap to change how they refer to Taiwan was "rather unfortunate in terms of cross-strait relations" and would push its residents "further and further away" rather than winning their "hearts and minds".

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The photos were taken at a Gap shop in Canada's Niagara region, Global Times said. "We sincerely apologize for this unintentional error", the company shared in a statement, according to the Global Times.

"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.

The People's Daily, official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, reports that the T-shirt had been sold in Canada.

This move sparked a counter backlash by those online who argue that Taiwan is not a part of China and that the complaints over the shirt are unwarranted.

The Trump administration has pushed back on Beijing's efforts as a bid to "impose Chinese political correctness on American companies and citizens".

"[We] have made a decision to immediately pull back this T-shirt from all the concerned global markets", the company said. 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.

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