French fashion powerhouse Dior has become the latest luxury brand after Versace, Givenchy and Coach, Versace to get caught in a scandal over Chinese ‘territorial integrity’.
Dior was forced to apologize for showing a map of the People’s Republic of China (China) that was missing the self-ruling Republic of China (Taiwan).
“Dior first extends our deep apologies for the incorrect statement and misrepresentation made by a Dior staff member at a campus presentation,” the brand said on the Weibo social network on Thursday.
The statement added that Dior respects ‘One China’ policy and “strictly safeguards China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” and promises to prevent such mistakes from happening in the future.
Earlier this week, Dior held a presentation during which its showed its stores in the People’s Republic of China (China), but the Republic of China (Taiwan) was excluded from the map. The mishap was immediately noticed by someone from the audience, who asked why the island was missing.
The employee explained that the picture was too small and thus Taiwan was too small to be shown. However, the vigilant student responded that the Republic of China (Taiwan) is bigger than Hainan island, China’s southernmost point, which was shown on the map. The employee then said that the Republic of China (Taiwan) and Hong Kong were only included in Dior’s presentations on “Greater China.”
A video from the event which showed the map surfaced on Chinese microblogging website Weibo, triggering backlash among users. Some angered ‘patriotic’ Chinese netizens even called for the employee to be fired. Dior’s apology became one of the most popular topics on China’s Weibo on Thursday, and was reportedly the second most searched for term on the platform.
It is not the first time that a luxury goods company has to apologize for gaffes in order to avoid angering the customers and the government of one of the world’s largest markets. In August, US label Coach, French luxury fashion house Givenchy and Italian fashion giant Versace came under fire for listing Hong Kong, the Republic of China (Taiwan) and Macao as separate countries.