Gap ‘Destroyed’ T-Shirts that Upset China over Map Omissions


Gap has become yet another major brand to issue an apology to China over political issues. This week the American brand bowed to demands and apologized for selling a T-shirt that was described as having an “incorrect” map of China due to its omission of South Tibet, Taiwan, and islands in the South China Sea – territories that China claims as its own.

Not only that, Gap said they destroyed the remaining stock.

“Gap Inc. respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China. We’ve learned a Gap brand T-shirt sold in some overseas markets mistakenly failed to reflect the correct map of China. We sincerely apologize for this unintentional error,” the company said in a statement to Global Times on Monday.


 

“This batch of products had been pulled off shelves in the Chinese market and destroyed. As a responsible company, Gap Inc. strictly follows Chinese laws and rules.”

The T-shirt, which was featured for sale online, was the only one in the brands “City” line that featured a map rather than a flag. Once discovered by someone, reportedly in Canada, it garnered hundreds of comments on Chinese social media.

Fueling the flame, other shirts in the “City” line don’t have maps.

Once alerted to the problem, Gap quickly folded – in line with the traditional sales rule, the billion plus consumers are always right.


 

Gap is just the latest to fold to Beijing’s will. Earlier this year, hotel chain Marriott was forced to shut down the Chinese version of its website over territorial issues, and Zara was ordered to complete a “self-inspection” after the companies’ websites listed areas, including Taiwan, as “countries.”

Perhaps the most interesting instance of late was a letter sent by China’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to 36 foreign airlines demanding they stop referring to Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau as countries. The CAA went so far as to censure Delta Air Lines for listing both Taiwan and Tibet as countries on its website.

The White House at least stood its ground, calling the CAA’s demands “Orwellian nonsense.”

 

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