SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF/CBS NEWS) — San Francisco-based apparel giant The Gap issued an apology Monday after Chinese officials complained about the firm selling T-shirts in overseas stores that displayed a map of China without Taiwan, South Tibet and the South China Sea.
The People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, published The Gap’s apology.
“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,” read a statement sent to the Global Times by Gap officials.
In response to the controversy, the international clothing giant said the t-shirts “had been pulled off shelves in the Chinese market and destroyed.”
The company also hoped it’s action would calm the firestorm of criticism that had been wiped up on the popular Chinese social site Weibo.
According to the Global Times among the negative comments was one by a Weibo user who complained — “Not recognizing one-China principle, there is no room for negotiations. GAP should be banned in China, get out of China.”
The company is only the latest to offer a mea culpa after committing a faux pax on a topic touchy to Beijing. Long-simmering territorial feuds from Taiwan to Tibet underline China’s insistence that international companies adhere to its stances, or risk not being allowed to do business there.
The world’s most populous nation calls democratic Taiwan one of its provinces despite nearly seven decades of separate governance. Tibet is a self-ruled region, yet home to a movement looking to stop what advocates describe as Chinese “occupation.”
Mercedes-Benz in February apologized to the Chinese for quoting the Dalai Lama on Instagram. The automaker’s apology came just a few weeks after Chinese regulators investigated Marriott International for listing Tibet as a nation on its website.
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