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Donatella Versace China apology
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Donatella apologises to China for Versace t-shirt faux pas

The designer took to Instagram to personally apologise for a t-shirt that appeared to imply Hong Kong and Macau were independent of China

Donatella Versace took to Instagram this weekend to personally apologise for offense caused by a factually inaccurate t-shirt which appeared to imply Macau and Hong Kong were countries independent of China. The style in question features a list of cities and their respective countries (‘Madrid – Spain’ for example), with Macau paired incorrectly with Macao and Hong Kong with Hong Kong. Though regarded as having significant degrees of autonomy, both former European colonies are in fact still Chinese-controlled.

“I am deeply sorry for the unfortunate recent error that was made by our company and that is being currently discussed on various social media channels. 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,” she wrote in a post

The apology comes soon after the Italian label posted a statement to Chinese social media platform Weibo, writing on Twitter: “The company apologises for the design of its product and a recall of the t-shirt has been implemented in July. The brand accepts accountability and is exploring actions to improve how we operate day-to-day to become more conscious and aware.”   

Unfortunately it was too little, too late for Chinese brand ambassador Yang Mi, who cut ties with Versace following the controversy. Ending her contract with the Italian luxury label, the hugely popular actress and singer’s studio issued a statement on its own Weibo account.

“China’s territorial integrity and sovereignty are sacred and inviolable at all times. As a company of the People’s Republic of China, and Yang Mi as a citizen of the People’s Republic of China, we are deeply offended. It is the duty of all Chinese citizens to uphold the ‘One China’ principle and adamantly safeguard national unification,” the statement read. With a following of over 104 million people on Weibo, Yang Mi’s departure comes as a blow to the brand’s relationship with China. 

The release of the t-shirt comes at a time of unrest in the country, with China becoming increasingly strict as to how Hong Kong is labelled by the media and foreign firms.