US fashion brand Coach apologizes for territorial blunder after model Liu Wen quits
Model Liu Wen has terminated her cooperation with US fashion house Coach after Chinese Internet users found its T-shirts and company website mislabeled Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau as countries.
Coach is one of the latest international companies to have drawn flak for listing the Hong Kong and Macau special administrative regions and Taiwan as independent countries.
On Sunday, Versace apologized for mistakenly listing Chinese cities as separate countries on some T-shirts.
The Coach T-shirt, images of which were posted on Chinese social media, featured a list of “city-country" pairs, including “Beijing-China,” “Chicago, United States,” or just “Singapore” as a single listing.
But it identified Hong Kong and Taiwan as “Hong Kong” and “Taipei-Taiwan.”
And the company’s official website listed Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan as options of the “Find by country” location search.
“China's territorial integrity and sovereignty are sacred and inviolable,” Liu said on Weibo.
She also apologized for working with Coach.
“I am sorry for the damage caused to the public for my poor choice of brand,” she said. “I love my motherland and I resolutely safeguard national sovereignty.”
A statement by Zhejiang Zeda Law Firm posted alongside the model’s announcement read: “Coach’s behavior has hurt the Chinese people enormously and should be condemned. “Hence, Mrs Liu Wen terminates her endorsement of and cooperation with Coach.”
Coach has issued a statement on Weibo, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
“Coach respects and supports China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” it read.
“In May 2018, we found a serious inaccuracy in the design of a few T-shirts. We immediately pulled those products from all channels globally. We also reviewed our entire assortment to ensure compliance, and have strengthened our internal product development process to avoid the occurrence of a similar issue in the future. We are fully aware of the severity of this error and deeply regret it.
“We have also taken immediate action to review and correct relevant website content.
“Coach is dedicated to long-term development in China, and we respect the feelings of the Chinese people. We will continue to strive to provide exceptional products and service to Chinese customers.”
International brands Asics, Givenchy, Calvin Klein and Fresh have also issued apologies on social media for identifying those regions as countries.