Gap apologizes for selling T-shirt with 'incorrect map' of China

China calls democratic Taiwan one of its provinces despite nearly seven decades of separate governance. The island was omitted from Gap's latest T-shirt design

Gap apologizes for selling T-shirt with 'incorrect map' of China

Gap issued an apology late Monday on its Weibo account, saying it "respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China".

Gap Inc. became the latest global company to apologize for offending Chinese political sensibilities, pulling a T-shirt featuring a map of China that left out territories claimed by the country.

Photographs of a T-shirt that the clothes brand had apparently sold in Canada were circulating on China's Internet, with many online comments saying that southern Tibet, Taiwan and the South China Sea were missing.

In its Weibo apology, Gap Inc said that it respects China's sovereignty and territory and confirmed that a t-shirt sold in overseas markets had contained an incorrect version of a map of China. The user said the photo of the T-shirt was taken at an outlet store in Canada.

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In a statement Gap said it "sincerely apologised for this unintentional error".

This is not the first time U.S. companies have been urged by Chinese internet users or China's government to change products or advertising materials to appease the "one China policy".

T-shirt with map of China. On April 25, it sent dozens of global airlines a written threat of severe punishments if they don't change their websites to declare that Taiwan is part of China - a move that provoked a strong pushback from the White House.

The White House hit back, describing China's claims as "Orwellian nonsense" and sharply criticised Beijing for trying to impose its "political correctness on American companies and their citizens".

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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.

Several other companies including Marriott and Delta Airlines have issued similar apologies this year after information on their websites appeared to conflict with China's territorial claims. Mercedes-Benz also apologized in February for using a quote from the Dalai Lama in a post showcasing a sleek luxury model. The fashion retailer has also pulled the product off its shelves in China and destroyed the shirts, a statement on its Weibo read. But Gap's China headquarters in Shanghai said the T-shirt had not been released in China.

The Gap's website originally listed the T-shirts as being available in Canada, Japan, Paris, China, San Francisco and NY.

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