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Retailer Gap apologises for T-shirts with 'incorrect' map of China

15 May 2018

In a statement the company said, "Gap Inc. respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China".

As the New York Times points out, companies like Delta Air Lines, Marriott, and Zara have also been called out for failing to recognized Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Tibet as sovereign to China, instead referring to them as separate countries.

A photo of a gray T-shirt featuring the word "China" alongside a silhouette of a map of mainland China-which was notably missing several China-claimed territories-went viral on the Weibo social network, prompting outrage for being "incomplete".

USA clothing retailer Gap is the latest company to apologize to China for failing to reflect Beijing's territorial claims - on a map shown on a T-shirt for sale in North America. "We are committed to more rigorous reviews in the future to avoid similar incidents again".

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According to social media site Weibo, the map printed on the Gap T-shirt, which is now being sold in Canada, did not show the Chinese claimed territories, forcing the retail giant to apologize.

"We sincerely apologise for this unintentional error".

Gap's apology comes as China has been ramping up efforts to police language used to describe Chinese-claimed territories such as Taiwan.

Delta Air Lines based in the USA 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. 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.

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Lee also reiterated the government's stance on the matter, asking the airline not to belittle Taiwan or damage its sovereignty and dignity by bowing to pressure from 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", the White House said in a statement.

Aside from Taiwan, Chinese troops marched into Tibet in 1950 to bring the region under Beijing's control.

Taiwan's foreign ministry said it was "deeply concerned" about Air Canada's move to refer to Taiwan as part of China on the website.

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Retailer Gap apologises for T-shirts with 'incorrect' map of China