China reportedly told H&M to 'bolster its awareness of the national territory' after citing issues with the retailer's 'problematic' maps

  • China told H&M to correct what it says is inaccurate mapping on the retailer’s website.
  • H&M has before been criticized by China for listing Hong Kong as a country.
  • Many in China have boycotted H&M recently over year-old comments about accusations of forced labor in the country.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Chinese officials told H&M to fix its mapping system on its website and to “bolster its awareness of national territory,” per a Friday report from the Wall Street Journal.

Regulators reportedly took issue with what some online Chinese users called “problematic Chinese maps” on H&M’s website.

The country’s internet regulator said that H&M has taken steps to correct the map inaccuracies, according to the report. H&M was directed by the regulator to study Chinese laws and “really ensure the standardized use of the Chinese map,” the Journal reports. 

H&M declined Insider’s request for comment.

The retailer has drawn criticism from China in the past for labeling Hong Kong, Macau, and Tibet as countries, as well as labeling Taiwan as a country on the retailer’s native Taiwan website, the Journal notes.

The government in Beijing considers Taiwan a province of China, not a country on its own, and has increased its military as its attitude toward Taiwan has grown increasingly harsh. 

The Swedish retailer became enthralled in controversy following the resurfacing of months-old comments about “forced labor” of Uighur Muslims in the Xinjiang region.

Reports have found the Uighur minority community to be under persecution, through concentration camps and forced sterilization. China has maintained its position that the camps are “reeducation centers” designed to quell religious extremism and terrorist threats, not facilities designed to extinguish Uighur culture.

The comments were recirculated online last week after some governments, including the US, imposed sanctions on Chinese officials over allegations of human-rights violations. H&M’s criticism of forced labor in the country drew ire from Chinese consumers and companies, who boycotted the brand. Shortly after, H&M appeared to be scrubbed from the internet in China, with products missing from popular shopping sites and the location of H&M’s 500 stores removed from map services.

H&M has since responded to the backlash, saying it is “dedicated to regaining the trust and confidence of our customers, colleagues, and business partners in China.”

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