Swarovski apologises to China for describing Hong Kong as country

Swarovski jewelleryImage copyright
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Swarovski’s jewellery is popular in China

Jewellery firm Swarovski has apologised to China for erroneously describing Hong Kong as a country on its website.

It said it took “full responsibility” for the mistake and was updating its websites worldwide.

Several firms have come under scrutiny this week for not adhering to China’s territorial claims.

Versace apologised at the weekend after an image on one of its T-shirts appeared to imply Hong Kong was an independent territory.

It comes at a time of heightened tensions between China and Hong Kong.

Mass unrest has rocked Hong Kong for several weeks as demonstrations, first aimed at an extradition bill, have evolved into a pro-democracy movement concerned about China’s growing influence in the region.

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Austrian-owned Swarovski said in a post on Facebook that it had always “firmly respected” China’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

“Considering the recent happenings in China, Swarovski takes full responsibility and sincerely apologises to the people of China, as well as to our collaborative partners and Brand Ambassador, Ms Jiang Shuying, who have been deeply disappointed due to misleading communication on China’s national sovereignty,” the firm said.

“We have strengthened our global brand awareness and we will continue to review all our digital platforms globally to correct any inaccuracies.”

China has been increasingly strict in policing how foreign firms describe Hong Kong, which is part of China but has a special status, offering its people more autonomy than those on the mainland.

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This week several foreign companies were caught up in controversies surrounding their description of Chinese territories.

Versace faced widespread criticism on social media in China for its T-shirt, and eventually said it had made a mistake and had stopped selling the tops.

Fashion brands Givenchy and Coach also faced backlashes for their representation of Chinese territories on garments they had produced.

In 2018, several other companies including Marriott and Delta Airlines also issued apologies after information on their websites appeared to conflict with China’s territorial claims.