Amazon criticized in China over Hong Kong T-shirts

World

16 Aug 2019

Chinese netizens slam Amazon for selling Hong Kong T-shirts

Netizens in China charged at leading online retailer Amazon for selling T-shirts supporting anti-government protesters in the country's semi-autonomous region of Hong Kong.

Recently, top brands like Versace, Givenchy, and Coach had to apologize to China for selling T-shirts which identified the country's semi-autonomous regions- Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau- as independent of the People's Republic of China.

Here are more details.

Details

T-shirts had slogans including 'Free Hong Kong Democracy Now'

T-shirts had slogans including 'Free Hong Kong Democracy Now'

As political unrest continues to fuel tensions in Hong Kong, Chinese netizens spotted T-shirts on sale bearing slogans such as 'Free Hong Kong Democracy Now,' 'Hong Kong is Not China,' etc., Global Times reported.

Although Amazon shut its e-commerce business in China in July, buyers can still purchase products overseas.

The hashtag 'Amazon T-Shirts' went viral on Weibo, aka China's Twitter.

'Need to teach Amazon a lesson,' writes social media user

Condemning the "disrespectful" T-shirts, a Weibo user wrote, "Amazon, you can leave China! You don't even need to apologize this time." Another one stated, "Amazon has already left China, right? We need to teach this company a lesson."

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Hong Kong

Why is Hong Kong facing a political crisis?

Notably, the anti-government demonstrations in Hong Kong began in June in protest to a proposed bill that sought to ease extraditions of suspected criminals to mainland China.

However, many criticized the bill, saying it would undermine Hong Kong's freedom and democracy and could be misused to silence political dissidents.

The bill has been suspended by the government but protesters demand it be fully withdrawn.

An ex-UK colony, Hong Kong handed to China in 1997

The issue here is that many Hong Kongers don't think of themselves as Chinese. Hong Kong was a colony of the United Kingdom for over 150 years until 1997, when it was handed over to China. Hong Kong has its own currency and political system.

Recent events

Versace, Coach lost ambassadorships in China over controversial T-shirts

Versace, Coach lost ambassadorships in China over controversial T-shirts

Recently, Versace, Givenchy and Coach came under fire for selling T-shirts recognizing Hong Kong as independent of China. Versace also identified Macau independently, while Givenchy and Coach counted Taiwan as separate.

As images of their shirts went viral on Weibo, all three brands apologized, with designer Donatella Versace also issuing a personal apology.

Both Versace and Coach lost ambassadorships in China over the fiasco.

May: Gap also apologized to China for printing incomplete map

On Monday, Japanese footwear company Asics also apologized for identifying Hong Kong and Taiwan as independent countries. Similarly, back in May, Gap had to apologize for selling T-shirts printed with the map of China omitting Taiwan and Southern Tibet.

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