Self-ruled Taiwan is claimed by Beijing as Chinese territory, and has become one of China's most sensitive issues and a potential military flashpoint. "ORCRP006320-topic.html" class="local_link" >Gap is the latest company to apologize to China for failing to reflect Beijing's territorial claims - on a map shown on a T-shirt for sale in North America.
"We have removed the product from the Chinese market and destroyed them all".
Beijing has pressured worldwide businesses to make changes to their websites that are outside China, prompting a clash with the government of the U.S.
While Taiwan is self-governed, only a minority of countries recognize its sovereignty as a nation independent of China. In the South China Sea, China is engaged in a number of disputes over islands, coral reefs, and lagoons in what is a major commercial thoroughfare that is potentially rich in resources. China doesn't use Western platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, but Chinese facsimiles, including Weibo, can generate a backlash, especially if that response aligns with an official government position. According to the state-owned Global Times, the map also left out southern Tibet and the South China Sea.
In January, China forced US-based hotel chain Marriott International to shut down and "conduct a full content inspection" of its Chinese website and mobile app after a questionnaire that listed Taiwan and Tibet as individual countries led to complaints.
The Global Times quoted Gap as saying that the T-shirt had not been released in China.
Other US companies which have issued apologies for similar incidents include Delta Air Lines and Marriott International Inc.
Gap is the latest of several companies that have apologized for perceived slights to China's sovereignty. Both companies subsequently apologized.
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