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US clothing retailer 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.

Gap has indeed had to make a full apology to the People's Republic of China after producing and selling a t-shirt with a map of China on it that just so happened to leave off Taiwan and a portion of the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh that China claims as 'Southern Tibet'.

The government has lodged a protest against a change of its designation to "Taiwan, China" on the website of Air Canada, the country's flag carrier and largest airline, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Tuesday.

In a post on China's Weibo microblogging platform, the company said it discovered that some T-shirts it sold overseas "had an erroneous design of China's map". "We sincerely apologize for this unintentional error", Gap said in a statement, according to China's Global Times newspaper. The rhetoric has become more intense since the election of independence-leaning president Tsai Ing-wen.

It promised to carry out "more rigorous reviews" in the future.

Gap is the latest company to run afoul of China's sensitivity over its contested territories, after Marriott and Zara were forced to issue apologies earlier this year. As stated by the user, the photograph of the T-shirt was taken at an outlet store in Canada.

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The clothing brand, based in the US, is the most recent worldwide business to be in trouble with the government of China over that country's territorial issues.

"This is Orwellian nonsense and part of a growing trend by the Chinese Communist Party to impose its political views on American citizens and private companies", the White House said in a statement.

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

This year, China has cracked down on global companies to reinforce the "One China" policy., Marriott, Zara, and Mercedes-Benz are among the other companies that have apologized after similar slip-ups.

Gap said the T-shirt - omitting Taiwan, Tibet and islands in the South China Sea - had been pulled from the Chinese market and were destroyed.

Mercedes-Benz said sorry for quoting the Dalai Lama on social media.


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