Clothing retailer Zara apologizes again, denies supporting strikes in Hong Kong | Society News | SupChina
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Clothing retailer Zara apologizes again, denies supporting strikes in Hong Kong

Fast fashion giant Zara, which apologized last year for listing Taiwan as an independent country on its website, has again found itself caught in the vortex of China-related political controversy over Hong Kong, where protests have been escalating for months.

On September 3, the apparel retailer issued a statement (in Chinese) on Chinese microblogging site Weibo, saying that as a “long-term advocate” for the “one country, two systems” policy, it “fully endorses China’s territorial integrity.”

The statement came as an official response to mounting doubts from mainland China regarding the brand’s stance on China’s territorial disputes. The skepticism started to grow as people found out that Zara closed four Hong Kong stores on September 2, when a large-scale strike  took place across the city, involving hundreds of shops, schools, and offices.

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In an attempt to debunk speculations that the closure was in support of the strikes, Zara explicitly said in the Weibo post that it never sided with the strikes’ participants. To further distance itself from the political crisis that has been unfolding, it said, “We never made any remarks or engaged in any behavior about the strikes.”

Zara’s clarification quickly became a trending topic on the Chinese internet. On Weibo, hashtag #zarastatement# (#zara声明#) has amassed more than 300 million views and about 14,000 discussions as of Tuesday afternoon.

While most internet users approved of the clothing retailer’s statement, a significant number of people remained doubtful and demanded that Zara further explain why it shut down some of its stores on that specific day. In response, Zara said on Weibo that while many of its locations in Hong Kong delayed opening on Monday due to the “uncertainty of public transportation,” all Zara stores in Hong Kong opened eventually yesterday.

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Still, there is a cluster of people on the Chinese internet who refuse to let Zara off the hook. According to them, the brand’s latest statement came off as flimsy and inadequate given that a little over a year ago, Zara had to issue a public apology after suggesting that Taiwan is a separate country from China.

In an editorial commentary (in Chinese) published by the Global Times yesterday, the nationalist rag slammed Zara for “sending perplexing signals” regarding the “violent riots” in Hong Kong. “There are many international brands that have locations in Hong Kong but Zara was the first to be suspected of supporting the strikes. Regardless of the cause of its blunder, Zara set a negative example,” the newspaper wrote.

As the protests in Hong Kong raged on, Zara is neither the first, nor the only, foreign business to pick a side on contentious issues concerning Chinese sovereignty and its territorial claims in the face of palpable pressure from mainland consumers. Last month, a string of international retailers and fashion houses, including Italian luxury fashion house Versace and American fashion brand Coach, found themselves in apology mode after being blasted for disrespecting China’s national sovereignty in their products or on their websites.

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Jiayun Feng

Jiayun was born in Shanghai, where she spent her first 20 years and earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism at Fudan University. Interested in writing for a global audience, she attended the NYU Graduate School of Journalism for its Global & Joint Program Studies, which allowed her to pursue a journalism career along with her interest in international relations. She has previously interned for Sixth Tone and Shanghai Daily.

2 Comments

  1. Cecilia Yu Reply

    Zara hates democracy and love to phone up the police to stop shoppers from questioning their refund policies…. So all Happy Communists should support them and buy all their plagiarised unsustainable junk clothing. Goodluck with that. Communists should all go out and Buy Zara’s ecologically poor quality unsafe clothing made by convicts and slave labours stealing the designs of many small time artists. Zara should be made the National Brand of all Evil Dictatorships especially people who like to Kill Christians, Muslims and Ethnic Minorities. Lol. For real, they are vile ..always has been and always will be. There are multiple lawsuits about them racially discriminating against nonwhite shoopers in NYC and LA and many of their stores….so it does not surprise anyone that Zara loves Communist Dictators ! If there was a Brand for Global White supremacist Nazis……Zara and Inditex would be the choice to supply the uniforms…hahahhaa..Just my personal experience of their core corproate values. Also they fit well with parts of Northern China…their staff are rude, crude, shouty and uneducated….and loves to self aggrandise by over representing their job roles…talking themselves UP with no substance to Match.
    😂

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