Luxury brand Christian Dior apologized on Thursday for showing students a map of China that didn’t include Taiwan in a closed-door recruiting session at Zhejiang Gongshang University in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou.
“Dior first extends our deep apologies for the incorrect statement and misrepresentation made by a Dior staff member at a campus presentation,” read a statement by Dior on Weibo, a Chinese social-media platform similar to Twitter. “Dior always respects and upholds the One China policy, strictly safeguards China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and treasures the feelings of the Chinese people.”
In a video, later posted online, of the question-and-answer session that followed the presentation, a female student asks why Taiwan, which the Chinese government considers a part of China, wasn’t included on the map of China shown by Dior representatives. One representative answered that the map was too small, to which the student replied that the map did include the island of Hainan south of China, which is similar in size to Taiwan. Another representative interjected that Taiwan, Hong Kong, and mainland China together form “Great China.”
The company’s apology to China drew condemnation from Taiwanese officials.
“@Dior‘s apology to the PRC government is a mistake,” Taiwanese foreign minister Joseph Wu shot back on Twitter. “Its employee was correct in showing the Chinese map without #Taiwan.”
The controversy comes after the NBA was accused of buckling to Chinese censorship in a similar spat earlier this month.
On October 4, Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted, “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong.” The Chinese Basketball Association immediately moved to cut all ties with the Rockets, and Chinese streaming service Tencent announced that it would not show any Rockets games for the coming year. Morey subsequently released a statement apologizing to Chinese fans, and the NBA publicly condemned Morey for his tweet supporting the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. The NBA faced widespread condemnation from U.S. elected officials, who blasted what they called its weak response to China’s demands.