American clothing brand Gap 'terribly sorry' over China map shirt omitting Taiwan

Virginia Carson
May 15, 2018

"Upon the realization that one of our T-shirts sold in some overseas markets mistakenly failed to reflect the correct map of China, we urgently launched an internal investigation across the group and have chose to immediately pull back this T-shirt from all the concerned global markets", the company said in a statement, adding that the shirts had already been pulled from Chinese shelves and destroyed.

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.

"Gap Inc. respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China". It also failed to show what China calls "Southern Tibet" - a huge swathe of territory it claims in the northeast Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh - and failed to draw a line around China's territorial claims in the South China Sea. "We are doing internal checks to correct the mistake as soon as possible", Gap said.

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Gap said the T-shirt - omitting Taiwan, Tibet and islands in the South China Sea - had been pulled from the Chinese market and were destroyed.

The company said it strictly abides by Chinese law and will devote itself to greater scrutiny to avoid similar errors in the future.

The Global Times newspaper said that "hundreds of Weibo users (were) protesting the company's act of disrespect to China's territorial sovereignty".

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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.

Just this month, the White House sharply disapproved China's efforts to force foreign airlines to change how they described Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau on their websites as "Orwellian nonsense".

China's strong-arming of U.S. businesses prompted a harsh response from the White House last week.

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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.

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