Hong Kong actor Shawn Yue has issued a late-night apology after his fashion label listed Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan as countries on its website.
Yue’s label MADNESS was criticised on Thursday night on the Weibo account of the Communist Youth League, who said it was reported to them by netizens.
Yue apologised on his Weibo account an hour later, saying: “As the founder of MADNESS, I did not adequately oversee the brand, with such a big error and misunderstanding arising, I must share the blame, and I am very sorry. On this matter, we will conduct a deep review, and will absolutely not allow similar errors to happen again! I apologise again to those who care about me!”
Since then, the website has changed its wording to “We ship internationally to most of the area.”
Many Weibo users expressed disappointment at Yue and said they would stop following him. Some accused him of being a supporter of the Umbrella Movement or an advocate of Hong Kong independence.
One commenter conflated the two separate movements, posting a screenshot of a picture of a yellow ribbon – a symbol of the umbrella movement – that Yue appeared to have previously posted on his Instagram account.
“This is not the first time, he is just a Hong Kong separatist maggot who wants to earn money.”
Another posted a photo of a t-shirt with the word MADNESS crossed out, on top of which they had written “COPYNESS.”
“I made a bad purchase before, so I can only fix it with my own hands.”
Yue is the latest to apologise for offending Chinese people over the status of Chinese regions. Earlier this year, a spate of brands came under government criticism for online material that listed Chinese regions such as Tibet and Hong Kong as separate countries.
Hotelier Marriott announced an “eight-point rectification plan” after its Chinese website and app were blocked for a week by mainland authorities, and its Asia-Pacific president said it was one of the biggest mistakes in his career, in an interview with state media outlet China Daily.
Spanish clothing giant Zara, Delta Air Lines, and Australian carrier Qantas were also called out by Chinese regulators, after which the companies either apologised or issued corrections.
Last week, German car maker Mercedes-Bez apologised for quoting the Dalai Lama on an Instagram post.