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The Global Times quoted Gap as saying that the T-shirt had not been released in China.

U.S. clothes giant GAP said it was "extremely sorry" for selling a T-shirt with an "incomplete" map of China, after it was accused of being disrespectful to the country's territorial sovereignty.

Gap immediately responded to the criticism on the site saying it "respects China's sovereignty and territorial integrity" and that it had just learned that one of its T-shirts in some overseas markets failed to reflect the "correct" map of China. The fashion retailer has also pulled the product off its shelves in China and destroyed the shirts, a statement on its Weibo read.

Gap's apology comes as China has been increasing efforts to police language used to describe Chinese-claimed territories such as Taiwan.

Taiwan is China's most sensitive territorial issue.

The printed map did not include Taiwan, a self-ruled island considered Chinese territory by Beijing, the capital.

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The move followed after a netizen had posted pictures of the shirt on Chinese social media platform Weibo, which saw Chinese territories such as south Tibet, Taiwan and the South China Sea being omitted from the map.

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 January, China forced US-based hotel chain Marriott International to shut down and "conduct a full content inspection" of its Chinese website and mobile app after a questionnaire that listed Taiwan and Tibet as individual countries led to complaints.

The name change came in the wake of letters sent by China's Civil Aviation Administration in late April, pressuring 36 American and global airlines to remove references to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau as countries on their websites and marketing materials.

U.S. hotel chain Marriott, Spanish clothing giant Zara and a slew of airlines have faced China's wrath for not classifying Taiwan as part of China on their websites.


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