TAIPEI, Taiwan—French luxury brand Christian Dior is the latest international firm that’s decided to toe the Chinese regime’s line on Taiwan, issuing an apology on Oct. 17 after it was criticized for using a map of China during a business presentation that didn’t include Taiwan.
Beijing has been pressuring governments and companies to accept its “One China” policy, which stipulates that mainland China and Taiwan are inalienable parts of a single “China.”
Joanne Ou, spokeswoman for Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said it’s regrettable that Dior openly supports the “One China” policy, according to Taiwan’s government-run Central News Agency (CNA).
Ou added that Dior’s statement doesn’t speak to reality, since Taiwan isn’t part of China, and Taiwan has never been under the administrative jurisdiction of the People’s Republic of China.
Taiwan is a de facto independent country with its own democratically elected officials, constitution, military, and currency. However, Beijing sees its democratic neighbor as a renegade province that must be united with the mainland, by military force if necessary.
According to Reuters, the incident occurred during a Dior presentation about its boutique network that was held at Zhejiang Gongshang University, located in Hangzhou, China.
An unidentified staff member at the university’s career office confirmed to Reuters that the map was shown on Oct. 16, during a Dior recruitment event at the school. Images of Dior’s map circulated on the popular Chinese social media platform Weibo.
Dior issued an apology statement dated Oct. 17 on its Weibo account. The company “sincerely apologized” for the error during the campus presentation, adding that it was the “misconduct” of an unidentified employee, whose action doesn’t represent the company’s stance.
“Dior has always respected and upheld the ‘One China’ principle, and strictly safeguards China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the statement read, adding that such incidents will never happen again. “Dior is a friend of China.
“Dior’s heart of sincere love for China cannot be doubted.”
But Ou said international companies shouldn’t accept political oppression and then make statements that are contrary to the truth.
She then condemned Beijing for its “unreasonable and overbearing behavior” of forcing international companies into voicing support for the “One China” policy, and called on governments and the international community to take action against the Chinese regime’s bullying tactics.
International companies are increasingly bowing to pressure from Beijing, especially on the issue of Taiwan, the Chinese regime’s most sensitive territorial claim.
In January 2018, Marriott International apologized for sending a questionnaire to customers that showed Tibet and Taiwan as separate countries. The Shanghai municipal government responded by shutting down Marriott’s Chinese website for a week, according to Reuters.
In May 2018, U.S. clothing retailer Gap issued an apology after selling T-shirts with a map of China that didn’t include Tibet, Taiwan, and the South China Sea. According to Reuters, Gap then pulled the shirts from the Chinese market and destroyed them.
Also last year, China’s aviation regulator pressured international airlines to amend their websites to remove any reference to Taiwan as a country, or else face retaliation. Forty-four carriers submitted to the regulation, amending references to Taiwan to phrases such as “Chinese Taipei” and “Taiwan, China.”