Versace apologies in flap over T-shirts sold in China
Versace apologies in flap over T-shirts sold in China
Donatella Versace Apologizes to China for Offending Country With T-Shirt
12 August, 2019, 15:56
Luxury fashion brands Versace and Coach have apologised for making perceived affronts to China's national sovereignty on T-shirts, mistakes that cost them their high-profile Chinese brand ambassadors.
Beijing is also facing one of its most popular challenges to Chinese leader Xi Jinping since he came to power in 2012 in Hong Kong, where demonstrators say they are fighting against the erosion of the "one country, two systems" arrangement enshrining some autonomy for Hong Kong when China took it back in 1997.
Yang Mi, a Chinese actress and Versace's first brand ambassador from the country, announced Saturday that she would no longer work with the label in light of the controversy.
"Versace reiterates that we love China deeply, and resolutely respect China's territory and national sovereignty", the brand said in a statement.
The T-shirts were taken off its shelves on July 24 and have been "destroyed", it said.
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.
The T-shirt, images of which were widely posted on Chinese social media, featured a list of city-country pairs, including "New York-USA" and "Beijing-China". Both designs neglected to identify Hong Kong as part of China, while appearing to imply that Taiwan - considered a renegade province by Beijing - is an independent country.
Versace has apologized and removed the T-shirt. Both Hong Kong and Macao are semi-autonomous territories which have separate identities from China in many peoples' minds. We are fully aware of the severity of this error and deeply regret it.
"The motherland's sovereignty and territorial integrity are sacred and inviolable", the studio's statement read in part.
"Versace suspected of supporting Hong Kong and Macau secession" became a trending hashtag on Weibo, attracting more than 400 million views by Sunday afternoon, and the claims were amplified and promoted by state media.
Following widespread discontent, Lam announced that the bill was "dead," but protests have continued as citizens fear the growing influence of Chinese authorities in Hong Kong. Last year, an advertisement from Dolce & Gabbana that showed a Chinese model struggling to eat spaghetti and pizza with chopsticks sparked outrage and a boycott of its products.
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".
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