Gap says sorry for T-shirts with "incorrect map" of China

Gap apologizes to China for ‘incorrect map’ on a T-shirt
By Ted Kitterman | Posted

In a rare statement issued by the White House May 5, the US government slammed China's demand as "Orwellian nonsense" and said it deemed the request "Chinese political correctness".

A picture of the T-shirt was posted on Chinese social media network, Weibo, generating hundreds of complaints.

The offending shirt portrayed a map of China that didn't adhere to Beijing's territorial claims. Chinese netizens were also angered that the maps appeared to exclude southern Tibet and did not include territory in the South China Sea which China has recently been asserting claims on.

"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 made a decision 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.

Despite the apology, Business Insider found Gap's controversial T-shirt was still on sale on Monday evening.

In a statement the company said, "Gap Inc. respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China". We were told that the design of a map of China for Gap T-shirts in some overseas markets had an error. Last year, the company opened its largest China store in Shanghai. Following a letter to several USA airlines demanding they change the way they refer to Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau in promotional materials, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued a statement calling the demand "Orwellian nonsense".

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders called the threat "Orwellian nonsense and part of a growing trend by the Chinese Communist Party to impose its political views on American citizens and private companies". "China's efforts to export its censorship and political correctness to Americans and the rest of the free world will be resisted".

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 websites or promotional material. "The product has been withdrawn from the Chinese market and completely destroyed", it said.

In January, 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. Other T-shirts in the range show San Francisco, Paris, Japan and Canada but are decorated with national flags rather than maps.

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