Pacific News Minute: Map on a T-shirt from “The Gap” Provokes Chinese Nationalism

May 16, 2018

Credit Tkgd2007 / Wikimedia Commons

“The Gap” is the latest western company to provoke outrage in China. The retailer apologized for a T-shirt that showed a map of China that did not include territories claimed by Beijing. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

A picture of the t-shirt posted on the Chinese social media site Weibo prompted righteous anger over omissions that many Chinese take as an insult.

The map did not show Taiwan, which China regards as a renegade province, the disputed expanse of the South China Sea, the Indian administered territory China calls South Tibet or the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau. Though it would take a fine eye to pick out those last two on a blurry t-shirt map.

Earlier this year, Marriott International was forced to shut down its website and mobile app in China for a week after the hotel giant issued an online questionnaire that included Tibet, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau on a menu of “countries.” Marriott issued a statement of apology that stressed it’s support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China.

China has also demanded apologies for similar transgressions from the fashion brand Zara, medical device manufacturer Medtronic and several airlines, including Delta, United, Air France and Qantas.

Credit Wikimedia Commons

According to China’s People’s Daily, “The essence of the problem is the political arrogance of foreign companies unafraid to hurt the feelings of people from other countries.” 

The White House issued a statement earlier this month that called China’s stance “Orwellian nonsense,” and called on the Chinese Communist Party to stop imposing Chinese political correctness.