Amazon faces China online backlash over T-shirts with HK slogans

August 16, 2019 09:18
Facing heat over the sale of T-shirts bearing messages related to the Hong Kong protest movement, Amazon said it will continue to respect local laws where it does business. Photo: Reuters

Chinese social media users directed their fury at Amazon on Thursday after discovering T-shirts on its website sporting slogans that support anti-government protesters in Hong Kong, Reuters reports.

The hashtag “Amazon T-Shirts” became the fourth-top trending topic on China’s Twitter-like Weibo as mainland citizens discussed Hong Kong-related issues, according to the report.

The Global Times tabloid, published by China’s state-owned People’s Daily, said many Chinese internet users found the T-shirts for sale carrying slogans such as “Free Hong Kong Democracy Now” and “Hong Kong is Not China,” among others.

Legions of internet users accused the site of being insensitive toward the Chinese people, with one Weibo commenter writing, “Amazon has already left China, right? We need to teach this company a lesson.”

The e-commerce giant shut its Chinese marketplace in July, but some overseas goods can still be shipped into the country. The T-shirts were available on Amazon’s US website.

The online retailer said in a statement that it "has always and will continue to acknowledge the longstanding and widely-recognized policy of ‘one China, two systems’. Every country where we operate has different laws, and we will continue to respect those local laws where we do business.”

Several celebrities from mainland China severed ties with a number of global fashion labels this week, after online users pointed out they had released apparel that referred to Hong Kong and Taiwan as separate from the People’s Republic of China.

Versace, Calvin Klein, and other brands each issued public apologies online, either on Chinese social media accounts or overseas ones, the report noted.

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