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

A photo of a gray T-shirt featuring the word "China" alongside a silhouette of a map of mainland China-which was notably missing several China-claimed territories-went viral on the Weibo social network, prompting outrage for being "incomplete".

"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. 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 microblogging platform. The company said the product has been pulled from the Chinese market and destroyed.

Gap has apologized to China after an image of a t-shirt on sale in Canada went viral.

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Gap, in a statement posted on Weibo, China's equivalent of Twitter, admitted that a Gap brand T-shirt sold in some overseas markets "mistakenly failed to reflect the correct map of China".

Gap is not the first global brand to bruise China's long fingers and tender toes, but it has apologized just the same.

In January, Australia's Qantas Airways changed its website classification of Taiwan and Hong Kong from separate countries to Chinese territories, blaming its earlier approach on an "oversight".

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Self-ruled Taiwan is claimed by Beijing as Chinese territory, and has become one of China's most sensitive issues and a potential military flashpoint.

Other than Marriott, the Chinese websites of US-based medical supplies company Medtronic and Spanish fashion brand Zara were found to have listed Taiwan as a "country" or as "Republic of China" and were ordered by the government to make corrections and apologise, state media Xinhua Agency has reported.

"This is Orwellian nonsense and part of a growing trend by the Chinese Communist Party to impose its political views on American citizens and private companies", the White House said in a statement. Mercedes-Benz said sorry for quoting the Dalai Lama on social media.

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It is available online on the Gap Factory U.S. website, as part of the "City T-shirt in Jersey" range.

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