"We love China and respect the sovereignty of China's territorial state"

The New York  Times reports that luxury brands Versace, Coach and Givenchy have apologized to China for ‘Hong Kong’ and ‘Macau’ clothes.

Social media users in China had called for boycotts of the western brands after T-shirts showing Hong Kong and Macau as their own countries. The territories were shown in a list of cities and their countries including Milan – Italy and Beijing – China.

In a Weibo post, Versace said it stopped selling the shirts in question as of 24 July. “We apologise for the dispute. We love China and respect the sovereignty of China’s territorial state,” a translation of Versace’s statement said.

Donatella Versace also posted on her own Instagram account stating, “never have I wanted to disrespect China’s National Sovereignty and this is why I wanted to personally apologise for such inaccuracy and for any distress that it might have caused.”

Chinese actress Yang Mi, who was a spokeswoman for Versace, terminated her contract with the Italian company. “The motherland’s territorial integrity and sovereignty are sacred,” she said in a Weibo post.

#YangMiStopsWorkingWithVersace had 860 million views on Weibo on Monday.

American fashion brand Coach was also slammed for clothing that suggested Hong Kong and Taiwan were independent from China.

“We are fully aware of the severity of this error and deeply regret it,” a message on Coach’s official Twitter and Instagram channels read. “Coach is dedicated to long-term development in China, and we respect the feelings of the Chinese people.”

China spokeswoman, model and actress Liu Wen added, “I apologize to everyone for the damage that I have caused as a result of my less-careful choice of brand!”

The term “Coach” garnered 1.2 billion views on Weibo.

Givenchy similarly apologized for a T-shirt suggesting Hong Kong and Taiwan were autonomous. In a statement, parent company LVMH apologized and said it “always respects Chinese sovereignty.”

Last month, Lionel Messi has landed himself in hot water after wearing a Dolce & Gabbana ‘Chinese pig shirt’. The incident followed the luxury brand controversy surrounding its “racist chopsticks” advert.