Wed, May 16, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Gap ‘sorry’ for not showing Taiwan as part of China

AP, HONG KONG

A man carries a Chinese flag as he walks past US retailer GAP’s newly opened flagship store in Beijing on Nov. 16, 2010.

Photo: AP

US clothing retailer Gap yesterday apologized for selling T-shirts with what it says is an incorrect map of China that did not include Taiwan, in the latest example of corporate kowtowing to Beijing.

“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 decided 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.

The company took action after photos began circulating on Chinese social media of a T-shirt showing a map that did not include Taiwan.

The map also appeared to leave out southern Tibet and the disputed South China Sea, the state-owned Global Times said, adding that it drew hundreds of complaints on China’s Weibo.

The photos were taken at a Gap store in Canada’s Niagara region, the Global Times said.

The shirt could not be found on Gap Web sites and it was not clear whether it was still being sold in shops in some countries.

“We sincerely apologize for this unintentional error,” said the company, which issued the statement through its public relations firm after making a similar apology late on Monday on its Weibo account.

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 nation’s laws and rules.

China noted Gap’s apology and “will follow carefully their actions and remarks later on,” Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Lu Kang (陸慷) said at a daily briefing in Beijing.

In Taipei, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) 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.”

Gap is the latest of several companies that have apologized for perceived slights to China’s sovereignty.

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 Web sites or promotional material.

The US has started pushing back against Beijing, with the White House condemning China’s efforts to control how US airlines refer to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau as “Orwellian nonsense.”

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