Gap Makes Apology to China for Shirt That Omitted Taiwan

Gap has pulled the T-shirts and said it respects China's sovereignty and territorial integrity

Gap has pulled the T-shirts and said it respects China's sovereignty and territorial integrity

The clothing brand, based in the USA, is the most recent global business to be in trouble with the government of China over that country's territorial issues.

U.S. retail giant, Gap has issued an apology after selling a T-shirt displaying the wrong map of China after the design omitted Chinese-claimed territories including islands in the South China Sea, Taiwan and south Tibet.

The shirt, which was sold in Canada, garnered attention after a picture was posted to the Chinese social media site Weibo.

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". "The related products were pulled off the shelves in the Chinese market and destroyed earlier".

Gap promised to carry out "more rigorous reviews" to prevent similar incidents and said it respected China's "sovereignty and territorial integrity" and strictly followed the country's laws and rules.

Gap is the latest of several companies that have apologised for perceived slights to China's sovereignty. The shirt sparked outrage after being dubbed "incomplete" for not including South Tibet, the island of Taiwan, and the South China Sea, all Chinese-claimed territories.

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

The T-shirt was part of the Gap's city T-shirt in Jersey edition, which also includes shirts featuring Canada, Japan, Paris, San Francisco, and NY.

As The New York Times observed earlier this month, it is just the latest instance of friction between the Chinese government and worldwide businesses over how to classify the country's territorial claims.

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. "China's efforts to export its censorship and political correctness to Americans and the rest of the free world will be resisted".

The Gap, for its part, adopted a more conciliatory tone this week.

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