H&M upset Vietnam after agreeing to “rectify” map of the South China Sea

H&M and ‘problematic Chinese maps’

The Swedish retail giant H&M finds itself in yet another line of fire, this time from angry Vietnamese Twitter users. The Vietnamese social media users lashed out to H&M after the company reportedly agreed to edit the so-called nine-dash line map on its website to clarify Beijing’s territorial claims in the South China Sea, South China Morning Post reports.

The latest controversy began on Friday when the Shanghai branch of the Cyberspace Administration of China said it had been alerted by members of the public to a “problematic map of China” on H&M’s website. According to the cyberspace watchdog, H&M was ordered by The Shanghai municipal bureau of planning and natural resources to correct the “error” immediately to which H&M complied.

The nine-dash line is the mark Beijing uses to claim about 90 percent of the disputed waters of the South China Sea but Vietnam holds rival claims to some of the territories contained within the nine-dash line and H&M’s apparent concession did not go down well in Vietnam.

Angry Vietnamese took to Twitter to accuse H&M of kowtowing to Beijing and claimed the corrections were wrong. “Paracel and Spratly Islands belong to VietNam due to international law. H&M brand now is fighting against the law in all the Asian. We fight because we must fight,” Vietnam-based Huong L. Tran said on Twitter on Saturday.

“Stupid HM, how dare you! HOANG SA TRUONG SA BELONG TO VIET NAM!!! Get out of our country HM!!” wrote another, using the local names for the Paracel and Spratly island chains in the South China Sea that are claimed by both Beijing and Hanoi.

H&M declined to comment on the issue. The retailer operates only 11 bricks-and-mortar stores in Vietnam, compared with 520 in China.

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