|Lay Zhang is a Chinese member of K-pop boy band EXO. Courtesy of SM Entertainment|
By Dong Sun-hwa
Lay Zhang, a Chinese member of K-pop group EXO and a Calvin Klein model, has warned the U.S. apparel company to respect Beijing's "One China" policy after it implied that Taiwan and Hong Kong are independent countries.
Zhang, who recently signed a contract with Calvin Klein, released an official statement Monday to warn the company, which labeled Hong Kong and Taiwan on its English website as "different regions" ― separating them from mainland China. On its Chinese version page, only Hong Kong was separately labeled.
"Zhang deeply loves his country and supports the One China policy," his representative in China said in a statement on the country's social media platform Weibo. "He is against any acts or words that split his country. All brands that collaborate with him should be careful about the issue."
Under the One China principle, there is only one China represented by the government in Beijing, and Taiwan and Hong Kong are the parts of it.
The representative said Zhang will terminate the contract if the companies do not immediately correct their "careless mistake."
"If there was any mistake in the past, they should immediately correct it, apologize and prevent a recurrence," the statement says. "If not, Zhang will terminate the contract regardless of the penalty for contract breaches."
Calvin Klein apologized on Weibo. The company said it will correct the mistake and check whether there are any similar mistakes on its websites and other platforms.
"We also respect and support China's sovereignty and territorial integrity," the company said.
Other global brands, including Versace and Givenchy, have been involved in similar incidents, which prompted Chinese actress Yang Mi to end her contract with Versace. They issued apologies to Chinese consumers.