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China's Geographic Claims Causing T-shirt Controversy

Posted by Barbara Fordyce on

The Gap is the latest corporation to find itself in hot water over its depiction of the geography of China. 

The problem rests with a simple outline map of China that appears on a Gap t-shirt. 

The People’s Republic of China, colloquially known as "mainland China", or simply "China", asserts that the Republic of China, aka "Taiwan", is part of its sovereign territory and should appear on any country map. 


The map of China used on the t-shirt does not include Taiwan.  Social media users in Canada complained about the map image when the shirt appeared on the Gap web site.  The Gap issued an apology for the error, and removed all the shirts from inventory.



The assertion that Taiwan is part of China is controversial because Taiwan is a self-ruled country that does not recognize China's territorial claims. Taiwan's Foreign Ministry accused GAP of buckling under pressure and sending the wrong message to the world.  Similar controversies exist over areas in Nepal and Macau.

 But The GAP is not the only international country running into trouble with China's mapping requirements.  More than 30 global airlines, including American Airlines, were recently required to remove any information that could suggest Taiwan, Hong Kong or Macau are not part of China.  China recently blocked the Marriott website for a week because it listed Taiwan as an independent country.

For more details on the compromises companies are making to comply with the demands of China, go to CNN.


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