On Monday, the U.S. clothing brand Gap became the latest business to bow to China for offending the Chinese government by not acknowledging China’s territorial claims. As CNN Money reported, a Gap store in Canada was selling a T-shirt with a map of China on it that precipitated the Chinese government’s outrage. Why?
Because it didn’t show Taiwan and islands claimed by Beijing in the South China Sea as part of China.
As CNN Money reported, “A user on Chinese social network Weibo (WB) posted photos of a T-shirt they said was on sale at a Gap store in Canada, complaining that its design left out Taiwan and islands claimed by Beijing in the South China Sea.”
China claims Taiwan as its own, a position that the United States is staunchly opposed to. China also claims sovereignty over a huge part of the South China Sea; that position is hotly contested by Vietnam and the Philippines.
On Monday, Gap posted a statement with an abject apology and a commitment to destroying the shirts in the Chinese market. The statement read in part, "Gap Inc. respects China's sovereignty and territorial integrity. We've learned that a Gap brand T-shirt sold in some overseas markets failed to reflect the correct map of China in the design. We sincerely apologize for this unintentional error. We're currently conducting an internal inspection."
Gap follows in the footsteps of Marriott, which offended China by showing Tibet, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan as separate countries in emails and apps; Marriott later apologized.
CNN Money noted, “Earlier this month, the White House described as 'Orwellian nonsense' Chinese demands that more than 30 international airlines, including some US carriers, alter their websites to remove any information that could suggest that Taiwan, Hong Kong or Macau are not part of China.”