May 15, 2018 / 12:48 AM / 7 months ago

Gap apologizes for selling T-shirt with 'incorrect map' of China

The sign for a Gap store is seen on 5th avenue in midtown Manhattan in New York June 16, 2015. Apparel retailer Gap Inc said it would close a quarter of Gap specialty stores in North America over the next few years, including 140 this year, potentially affecting thousands of jobs as the company struggles with a slump in sales at its namesake brand. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - U.S. retailer Gap Inc (GPS.N) apologized on Monday for selling a T-shirt which it said had an incorrect map of China, adding it would implement “rigorous reviews” to prevent a repeat mistake.

The apology came after a person posted pictures of the T-shirt on Chinese social media network Weibo, saying that Chinese territories, including south Tibet, the island of Taiwan and the South China Sea, were omitted from the map. The user said the photo of the T-shirt was taken at an outlet store in Canada.

“Gap Inc. respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China. We’ve learned that a Gap brand T-shirt sold in some overseas markets failed to reflect the correct map of China. We sincerely apologize for this unintentional error,” it said in a statement posted on its Weibo account on Monday evening.

It added that the products had been pulled from the Chinese market and destroyed.

Gap’s apology comes as China has been ramping up efforts to police language used to describe Chinese-claimed territories such as Taiwan. Other U.S. companies which have issued apologies for similar incidents include Delta Air Lines (DAL.N) and Marriott International Inc (MAR.O).

Earlier this month, the White House sharply criticized China’s efforts to force foreign airlines to change how they described Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau on their websites as “Orwellian nonsense.”

Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Michael Perry

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