Net users call out Gap for its 'unintentional error'
US retailer Gap Inc. apologized on Monday for selling a T-shirt with an incorrect map of China, saying it respects China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and would avoid similar incidences in the future.
“Gap Inc. respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China. We’ve learned that a Gap brand T-shirt sold in some overseas markets failed to reflect the correct map of China. We sincerely apologize for this unintentional error,” it said in a statement posted on its Weibo account on Monday.
It added that the product has been pulled off shelves and destroyed.
The apology came after a Weibo user posted pictures of the T-shirt online, saying that Chinese territories, including Tibet, Taiwan, and the South China Sea Islands, were omitted from the map. The T-shirt was reportedly being sold at an outlet in Canada.
However, many Chinese net users are not buying the apology, and have accused the US apparel company of deliberating trying to separate China.
“It was intentional,” said a net user. One response to that comment accused foreign companies doing business in China of taking Chinese people’s money while trying to split the country.
The reason some Chinese netizens believe that it was intentional is because all of the other T-shirts in the “City T-Shirt in Jersey” range: San Francisco, Paris, Japan, and Canada are decorated with national flags rather than a fake map.
Gap is not the first foreign company to apologize for failing to respect China’s core interests. Earlier this year, Marriott International apologized for referring to Tibet and Taiwan as countries. “We absolutely will not support any separatist organization that will undermine China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Marriott said in a statement. Weeks later, Mercedes-Benz apologized for quoting the Dalai Lama on Instagram.
China has stressed that sovereignty and territorial integrity is China’s core interests, and respecting China’s core interests is the bottom line for companies doing business in the country.
By Curtis Stone