Communist China once again bullied a Western company into observing its speech codes on Thursday by extracting an apology from renowned French fashion house Christian Dior for publishing a map of China that omitted the sovereign nation of Taiwan.
Christian Dior held a corporate recruiting event at Zhejiang Gongshang University in Hangzhou, China, on Wednesday which included a map that depicted Dior’s network of boutiques across China. The event, called “Dream in Dior,” was intended to get students interested in careers with the company’s Chinese branch.
One of the students attending the presentation questioned why self-ruled Taiwan, which Communist China claims as a rogue province, was not included in the map. A video of the encounter was soon uploaded to Chinese social media.
The ensuing events chronicled by the South China Morning Post will be familiar to anyone who has studied Beijing’s hypersensitivity about the autonomous and semi-autonomous areas within its sphere of influence. According to the Post:
At first, the employee explained Taiwan was too small to be shown. But after it was pointed out that the much smaller Hainan island was included, the employee explained that Taiwan and Hong Kong were only included in Dior’s presentations on “Greater China”.
The explanation sparked fury among Chinese internet users.
“Not a single part of China should be missing!” said one comment on Weibo.
“That employee should be fired immediately,” a second read.
Another online user wrote “a major brand crossing the line with China again, when will they learn?”
The “Dior statement” is now the second most popular search term on the Chinese social media platform.
“It’s possible that the individual staff member made the mistake and they do not represent Dior’s stance, but this shows the company has problems in management and supervision. China’s territorial integrity and sovereignty are sacred and inviolable!” declared a typical Chinese critic of the company.
The logical inference that including Taiwan on a map designed to get students excited about working for Dior’s branch in China would be pointless if those students had very little interest in moving to Taiwan never seemed to enter the discussion.
As with other companies pressured by China, Dior blamed the incident entirely on the “personal misconduct of an employee” and promised to “deal” with that person after a “diligent investigation.”
“Dior always respects and maintains the one-China principle, strictly maintains China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and values Chinese people’s feelings. We’re deeply concerned about the individual staff member’s mistake and will definitely learn from the incident and avoid similar mistakes,” the company said in a groveling apology triumphantly relayed by Chinese state-run media.
“We accept [Dior’s] apology. But remember to deal with the staff member. Plus, please teach your staff about China’s geography. Don’t always blame your staff for any mistake. Don’t make any mistake more than three times,” responded a social media user quoted approvingly by Chinese state media.