Global brands such as Versace, Coach, Calvin Klein, Givenchy, ASICS, and Swarovski have all become tied up in controversy on the mainland this week for listing Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan as a separate countries or regions – not part of China – on their official websites or brand T-shirts.

China’s state media propaganda machine is running at full speed to counter the anti-Beijing voices, and many Chinese social media users are now involved in an online hunt for international companies seemingly not abiding by the “one country, two system” principle, which states that while Hong Kong enjoys “a high degree of autonomy” it is part of China.

Versace: How the ball started rolling

On 8 August, an image of a T-shirt by Italian fashion house Versace started making the rounds on social media. One Chinese web user wrote: “I discovered this recently, and wondered if the design of this T-shirt means that Versace is supporting Hong Kong independence?”

By 11 August, the T-shirt was being called out by hundreds on Chinese social media for seeming to list Hong Kong and Macau as independent countries.

Versace T-shirtThe T-shirt implied the Chinese territories of Hong Kong and Macau were separate countries

The hashtag “Versace Suspected of [Supporting] Hong Kong and Macau Independence” soon received more than three million views on Weibo, one of China’s most popular social media platforms.

Many commenters condemned the brand while others accused it of being “two faced” and for profiting from Chinese money while disregarding Chinese sovereignty.

Read the entire article at BBC.