The U.S. clothing retailer Gap apologized Tuesday for selling T-shirts with what it says is an incorrect map of China that didn't include self-ruled Taiwan, in the latest example of corporate kowtowing to Beijing.
"Gap Inc respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China", the statement reads.
"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.
Gap's apology comes as China has been increasing efforts to police language used to describe Chinese-claimed territories such as Taiwan. "We are committed to more rigorous reviews in the future to avoid similar incidents again".
The move followed after a netizen had posted pictures of the shirt on Chinese social media platform Weibo, which saw Chinese territories such as south Tibet, Taiwan and the South China Sea being omitted from the map.
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The statement continued by saying the company sincerely apologizes for the unintentional error and an internal inspection is being conduct because of the discovery.
Taiwan's foreign ministry is demanding a "speedy correction" from Air Canada after the airline's recent decision to list the Taiwanese capital of Taipei as being part of China.
Delta Air Lines based in the US and Zara the European based clothing retailer were on the hot seat as well over issues of a similar nature on their e-commerce sites in China. China has been pressuring airlines around the world, including US carriers, to refer to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau as part of China.
"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", it said in a statement.
Fashion brand Zara and Delta Air Lines drew Beijing's ire and apologized for listing Taiwan and/or Tibet as countries on drop-down menus on their websites.