With the risings tensions in Hong Kong since June this month, the relationship between China and its semi-autonomous territory are at the downhill. In this sensitive time of Political unrest, big brands like Versace, Givenchy, Coach are facing a backlash from the consumers for offending and disrespecting the Chinese territorial sovereignty in their products and websites.
Luxury Brand Versace issued an apology after an image on one of their T-shirts identified Hong Kong and Macau as independent states. After criticisms started pouring in, Versaces accepted its mistake and said that they have stopped selling the tops. China has been strict in how foreign brands portray Hong Kong, which is a part of China having some special status and greater autonomy than the mainland of the country. Macau is also not an independent state but rather a special administrative region of China.
Donatella Versace, the head of the legendary brand, in a post addressed the issue by apologizing for the inaccuracy; she also added further she does not want to disrespect China’s territorial sovereignty. Versace’s China’s brand ambassador actress Yang Mi, has cut off all her ties with the brand. Yang’s studio Jiaxing Media issued a statement on her behalf:” China’s territorial sovereignty and integrity are sacred and inviolable at all times”. The company has also misspelled Brussels into Brusells on this same collection of T-shirts.
Coach’s ambassador Liu Wen ended her contract with the company after they listed Taiwan as a country in their products. Givenchy also issued an apology after listing Hong Kong and Taiwan in the same way. Calvin Klein also had to apologize for misnotifying Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau as independent states on their website. The Communist Party of China’s department wrote: “Chinese people’s anger is not just verbal but will translate into action…”