Why Gap Is Apologizing to Customers This Time

China calls democratic Taiwan one of its provinces despite nearly seven decades of separate governance. The island was omitted from Gap's latest T-shirt design

USA clothing retailer Gap has apologised to China over a T-shirt with a map showing the mainland but omitting Taiwan, becoming the latest foreign firm to run afoul of Beijing's policy on the self-ruling island. "We've learned that a Gap brand T-shirt sold in some overseas markets failed to reflect the correct map of China", it said in a statement posted on its Weibo account on Monday evening.

In January, 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.

"We sincerely apologize for this unintentional error", it said, adding that an internal inspection is being conducted to correct the mistake".

The Global Times quoted Gap as saying that the T-shirt had not been released in China. Specifically, Taiwan, "Southern Tibet", and the South China Sea were omitted from the map.

"Gap Inc. respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China".

The company said they would be undertaking "rigorous reviews" to ensure that it doesn't happen again.

More news: US President Donald Trump says working on to solve ZTE issue

The offending T-shirt showed a map of China without including Taiwan, the self-ruled island that Beijing says is an integral part of the country. Other US companies that have issued apologies for similar incidents include Delta Air Lines and Marriott International.

The name change came in the wake of letters sent by China's Civil Aviation Administration in late April, pressuring 36 American and global airlines to remove references to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau as countries on their websites and marketing materials.

Earlier this month, the United States, embroiled in a trade dispute with China, dismissed the country's efforts as a way to "impose its political views on American citizens and private companies", calling the strategy "Orwellian nonsense".

Aside from Taiwan, Chinese troops marched into Tibet in 1950 to bring the region under Beijing's control.

The spokesman said the foreign ministry is watching the situation and has called on Air Canada to change the designation back to simply "Taiwan".

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