Samsung was recently dealt a blow when its brand ambassador, Chinese singer-songwriter Zhang Yixing (pictured), cut ties with the brand. Zhang, who is professionally known as Lay is part of the k-pop boy band EXO, and said in a statement on Weibo that Samsung is still unclear about the definition of "One China".
He added that being ambiguous about China's sovereignty and territorial integrity has "seriously hurt" the national feelings of Chinese citizens. Zhang added that he "strongly condemns" such behaviour and "will not tolerate it". Zhang said his team welcomes partners who support the One China policy and rejects those who are unclear in their stance about China's sovereign and territorial rights.
In a separate Weibo post, Zhang also said that he loves his country deeply, supports the One China policy and is committed to protecting the country's sovereignty. He opposes divisive comments and acts, adding that it is every Chinese citizen's responsibility and obligation to firmly insist on the maintenance of China's reunification.
The statement added that Zhang is looking into the brands he currently works with and sternly warns them to be careful about this issue. "If they have erred previously, they should immediately rectify it, apologise and prevent recurrence. Otherwise, Zhang will terminate the contract regardless of the penalty breach," the statement added.
Moving forward, Zhang and his team will "rigorously screen" all the international brands he potentially works with and will aim to fiercely protect China's sovereignty, the statement said. Zhang is also working with Calvin Klein but has yet to terminate his contract with the brand. Calvin Klein recently apologised for allegedly identifying Hong Kong and Taiwan as independent countries on its website.
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This news comes at a time where foreign companies have come under scrutiny for the way it describes China and its territories. Recently, Chinese model Liu Wen, Chinese actress Yang Mi and Chinese singer Jackson Yee parted ways with Coach, Versace and Givenchy respectively. The brands have apparently listed Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau as separately territories instead of being part of China, as implied in the One China policy.
Meanwhile, multiple media reports also said that Swarovski has recently apologised to China for describing Hong Kong as a country on its website, adding that it takes "full responsibility" for the mistake.
China's constitution does not recognise Taiwan as a legitimate state but instead, a territory of China. Also, Hong Kong and Macau are both Special Administrative Regions (SARs) in China which are granted a high level of autonomy to rule by themselves. The SARs fall under the "One country, two systems" principle, which states that both regions can continue to have their own government system and manage their legal and economic affairs, including trade with foreign countries.
(Photo courtesy: EXO's Facebook page)