(Photo: Screenshot of Amazon.com)
Chinese consumers on Thursday expressed outrage toward US e-commerce behemoth Amazon for selling clothes and coffee mugs featuring the slogan "Coronavirus made in China" on its platform.
Chinese netizens said the slogan was offensive and disgusting that Amazon would sell such items on its platform, especially during such a difficult time as China is fighting against the coronavirus that has claimed over 2,000 lives and infected over 74,000 people.
"Amazon is simply out of control openly and selling [products] with 'Coronavirus made in China.' It is sad and outrageous!" one netizen said on Weibo while demanding an explanation from several Amazon Weibo accounts.
The items, including T-shirts, hoodies, and coffee mugs, which featured the slogan in a variety of colors, were listed on the Amazon platform by a seller named Amerihut.
Social media users said the items were not sold by Amazon and that criticism should be directed at the seller, but others have argued the company should be held responsible for allowing such items to be sold on its platform.
"Isn't there any review when sellers place products online? The issue comes down to the platform," another netizen wrote.
Some even called on others and mainstream media to circulate the news to pressure Amazon for an explanation.
The topic "Amazon insulting China" gained over 180,000 views and 400 comments on Weibo within two hours.
Amazon did not respond to requests for comment as of press time.
This is the second time the US retail platform has drawn the ire of Chinese consumers for allowing items to be sold that feature offensive images and slogans.
In August, when the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region was grappling with violent protests backed by local secessionists and beyond, Chinese consumers blasted Amazon for selling shirts with slogans that said, "Free Hong Kong, Democracy Now," which was used by the rioters.
Amazon later apologized and stated the company recognizes and respects the "one country, two system" principle in China's governance over Hong Kong.
Since the coronavirus epidemic gained national attention in mid-January, there have been reports of increasing racist rhetoric aimed at Chinese nationals in foreign countries.
The slogan "Coronavirus made in China" first gained attention after it appeared on the cover of the German newspaper Der Spiegel. Chinese officials and citizens slammed the publication for the offensive headline.
In a separate case, the US business newspaper the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) published an editorial about the coronavirus epidemic that featured the headline "China is the real sick man of Asia."
After the newspaper received complaints and then demanded rectification from Chinese officials and citizens, China's Foreign Ministry on Wednesday revoked the press credentials of three WSJ reporters based in China.