United States retailer Gap apologises for 'erroneous' China map printed on a T-shirt

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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.

USA clothing retailer Gap has apologised for selling T-shirts with what it says was an "erroneous" map of China that did not include territories claimed by China, following a burst of outrage on Chinese social media. It said that the Gap China headquarters in Shanghai told it, "The T-shirt in question has not been released in China".

Though Taiwan has governed itself since 1949, Beijing regards the island as an integral part of China.

Photographs of a T-shirt that the clothes brand had apparently sold in Canada were circulating on China's Internet, with many online comments saying that southern Tibet, Taiwan and the South China Sea were missing.

Gap is the latest in a string of foreign firms to face a backlash for not adhering to China's territorial claims. It also apologised for "this unintentional mistake and is now conducting internal investigations to quickly rectify this mistake".

Gap responded to the criticism on Weibo by announcing it had pulled the T-shirts from the Chinese market and destroyed them. "We're now conducting an internal inspection".

Another post said: "Resist such a rubbish company!"

USA hotel chain Marriott, Spanish clothing giant Zara and a slew of airlines have faced China's wrath for not classifying Taiwan as part of China on their websites.

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. Both companies subsequently apologized.

The U.S. has started pushing back against Beijing, with the White House condemning China's efforts to control how U.S. airlines refer to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau as "Orwellian nonsense".

Beijing has also been pressuring global companies to change their websites outside China to fit its views, prompting a clash with the United States government.

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