Gap says sorry for T-shirts with "incorrect map" of China

Man walks past Gap store in China Image copyright Getty Images

US retailer Gap has apologised for selling T-shirts which it said showed an “incorrect map” of China.

The design featured just the mainland and not territories that China also claims, such as Taiwan.

A picture of the T-shirt was posted on Chinese social media network, Weibo, generating hundreds of complaints.

The company said it respected China’s “sovereignty” and would implement “rigorous reviews” to prevent a repeat of the incident.

Gap is the latest in a string of foreign firms to face a backlash for not adhering to China’s territorial claims.

The post on Weibo said the T-shirt, which was being sold in Canada, did not show Chinese-claimed territories, including south Tibet, Taiwan and islands in the South China Sea.

Beijing considers self-ruling Taiwan to be a breakaway province, while Tibet is governed as an autonomous region. China also claims a large part of territory in the South China Sea, which neighbouring Asian countries dispute.

In a statement Gap said it “sincerely apologised for this unintentional error”.

The clothing giant said the product had been pulled from the Chinese market and destroyed. It was not clear what would happen to those being sold outside the mainland.

Several other companies including Marriott and Delta Airlines have issued similar apologies this year after information on their websites appeared to conflict with China’s territorial claims.

Last month, Beijing demanded a group of foreign airlines respect China’s sovereignty claims and change the way they refer to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau.

The White House hit back, describing China’s claims as “Orwellian nonsense” and sharply criticised Beijing for trying to impose its “political correctness on American companies and their citizens”.

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