Monday, 19 August, 2019

Versace apologises after tops imply Hong Kong and Macau are countries

China Versace Flap Donatella Versace Apologizes to China for Offending Country With T-Shirt
Lora Ball | 12 August, 2019, 09:55

Italian fashion brand Versace apologised to its Chinese customers on Sunday for producing a range of tops that suggested Hong Kong and Macau were separate countries.

Other companies have been criticised by nationalists for not reflecting the official view as to what constitutes Chinese sovereign territory.

Versace said it had removed the T-shirts from shelves as of July 24 and had destroyed remaining inventory in a statement posted to several social media platforms.

Another day, another luxury brand runs afoul of political sensitivities in China.

The studio of Versace's China brand ambassador Yang Mi, one of the country's most well-known actresses, also said on its Weibo account that she was ending her contract with Versace over the issue.

China has been increasingly strict in policing how foreign firms describe Hong Kong, which is part of China but has a special status, offering its people more autonomy than those on the mainland.

The T-shirt, images of which were widely posted on Chinese social media, triggering a storm of rage, sported a list of "city-country" and "capital-country" pairs, like for instance "New York-USA" and "Beijing-China".

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Artistic director Donatella Versace has apologised to Versace's Chinese customers for the error.

Donatella, sister of the fashion house's late founder Gianni Versace, also made an apologetic post on her Instagram account, noting that she never meant to "disrespect China's National Sovereignty" and that's the reason why she had chosen to personally apologise for the "inaccuracy and for any distress that it might have caused", she rounded off.

'China's territorial integrity and sovereignty are sacred and inviolable at all times, ' Jiaxing Media said in the statement. This sparked a three-day sit-in protest at Hong Kong's global airport, with protesters chanting pro-democracy slogans and handing out pamphlets to arriving travelers.

Last year, U.S. retailer Gap has apologised for selling T-shirts which it said showed an "incorrect map" of China.

Beijing also ordered dozens of worldwide air carriers to change their websites to ensure Taiwan was listed as part of China - a decision that the White House described as "Orwellian nonsense".

Versace joins the ranks of other prominent worldwide companies including Zara and Gap, that also issued apologies to China following similar misrepresentation controversies.

Both Hong Kong and Macau were once European colonies which were leased from China.

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