China erupts over ‘problematic’ map

Fashion giant H&M has bowed to pressure from China and amended a “problematic” map which faced criticism from regulators.

Swedish fashion retailer has agreed to amend a “problematic” map of China after demands from authorities.

Chinese regulators had demanded that H&M change a map on its website in the latest spat between the clothing giant and officials in China.

H&M has been dragged into a deepening international dispute between China and the west over alleged human rights abuses against the Uighur ethnic minority in Xinjiang.

The ruling party’s Youth League recently called for a boycott of H&M after the retailer announced it would no longer buy cotton from Xinjiang.

Chinese regulators said H&M had agreed to change the map following criticism.

The announcement gave no details about the map, but brands have been pressured to change how Taiwan is depicted on their websites.

A statement by authorities in Shanghai said internet users had reported the issue to the management of H&M’s website and Shanghai’s municipal bureau of planning and natural resources ordered it to be changed.

The Wall Street Journal cited the Shanghai arm of the Cyberspace Administration of China as saying that H&M’s website operator had taken actions to address the issue.

The fashion giant was also told to study various Chinese laws, “bolster its awareness of the national territory, and really ensure the standardised use of the Chinese map”.

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H&M is yet to comment publicly.

Chinese officials has lashed out at H&M and other western companies in recent days, warning the “era of bullying” by foreign powers was over.

Xinjiang government spokesman Xu Guixiang said companies wielding the “big stick of sanctions” against the northerwestern region would only hurt themselves.

“China is no longer the China of 1840, and the era when Chinese people suffered from great power hegemony, and bullying will never return again,” he said at a press conference with China’s Foreign Ministry on Monday, the South China Morning Post reported.

H&M disappears from internet in China

H&M also mysteriously vanished from apps and maps in China last week.

H&M’s approximately 500 stories in China didn’t appear on ride-hailing app Didi Chuxing or map services operated by Alibaba and Baidu.

Its app also disappeared from digital distribution platforms.

It’s unclear if companies were ordered to erase H&M’s online presence or if enterprises acted without being told.

Regulators in China have broad power to punish firms that do not support official policy, Nine Newspapers reports.

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