Gap Apologizes For T-Shirt's Map Of China That Excluded Taiwan


China, however, has an ax to grind generally-and now specifically because of an image on a T-shirt.

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

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.

Self-ruled Taiwan is claimed by Beijing as Chinese territory, and has become one of China's most sensitive issues and a potential military flashpoint.

The clothing brand, based in the USA, is the most recent global business to be in trouble with the government of China over that country's territorial issues. It was unclear if the shirts in all of Gap's markets worldwide would also be destroyed.

While Taiwan is self-governed, only a minority of countries recognize its sovereignty as a nation independent of China.

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Keeping track of China's territorial claims can be tricky, especially for brands in the US, where the federal government disagrees with China over its purported reach.

Hundreds of people complained on Gap's official account on China's Weibo microblogging website, the daily said.

The Global Times quoted Gap as saying that the T-shirt had not been released in China.

Several other large Western brands apologized for errors related to territorial issues in China. "ORCRP009473-topic.html" class="local_link" >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. Marriott issued an apology, saying it respects and supports China's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

In the past, Delta and clothing retailer Zara also found themselves in similar situations for treating China and Taiwan as separate countries. Both companies subsequently apologized.