Donatella apologises for Versace T-shirt controversy

Donatella apologises for Versace T-shirt controversy

The simple t-shirt design, featuring a list of cities, failed to designate Hong Kong and Macau as Chinese territory, instead printing "Hong Kong-HONG KONG" and "Macau-MACAU" in contrast to cities like Beijing and Shanghai, which were included in the list with "CHINA" displayed clearly next to them.

"It is the duty of all Chinese citizens to uphold the "One China" principle and adamantly safeguard national unification", said the statement, as translated by Chinese state-run newspaper, the China Daily.

Versace, which was bought by Michael Kors' Capri Holdings Ltd in September, said on its Twitter-like Weibo account that it had made a mistake and as of July 24 had stopped selling and destroyed the T-shirts.

China has pressured worldwide airlines and other companies to describe the city as "Hong Kong, China" on their websites, rather than just as "Hong Kong".

After pictures circulated online of a T-shirt allegedly sold by Coach that suggests Hong Kong and Taiwan are countries, rather than cities, calls grew over social media for a boycott of the Tapestry Inc-owned label.

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A batch of garments that hit the shelves in China has ended up on everyone's lips as the apparel featured word pairs referring to the Chinese special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau as separate states - something that was widely seen as disrupting the PRC's territorial integrity. On the evening of August 11, the company's artistic director Donatella Versace released an official apology on several social media platforms. "Never have I wanted to disrespect China's National Sovereignty and this is why I wanted to personally apologize for such inaccuracy and for any distress that it might have caused", Donatella said in a statement.

Liberty Times reports that a Chinese actress, Yang Mi (楊冪), who previously promoted the brand for the Chinese market has cut ties and contracts with the company. This sparked a three-day sit-in protest at Hong Kong's worldwide airport, with protesters chanting pro-democracy slogans and handing out pamphlets to arriving travelers.

Versace has apologised and removed the T-shirt.

Several other companies including Marriott and Delta Airlines issued similar apologies in 2018 after information on their websites appeared to conflict with China's territorial claims.

The incident comes at a sensitive time with China's official media painting the ongoing protests in Hong Kong as a violent attempt to seek independence and undermine the "one country, two systems" arrangement.

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