(Photo: Screenshot of Amazon.com)
Chinese consumers on Friday demanded an apology from and called for a boycott of US e-commerce giant Amazon for selling clothes and coffee mugs featuring the slogan "Coronavirus made in China" on its platform.
The items, including T-shirts, hoodies, and coffee mugs, which featured the slogan in a variety of colors, were found listed on the Amazon platform by a seller named Amerihut on Thursday night and sparked online buzz.
But the products were removed on Friday afternoon when Global Times checked the website.
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 the coronavirus that has claimed over 2,000 lives and infected over 75,000 people.
"Amazon must apologize for that. How can it simply remove the products and pretend it didn't happen?" a netizen named Fengping said on China's Twitter-like Weibo.
When Global Times called Amazon in the US, one salesperson exclaimed four times, "That's so rude!"
If these items were found on Amazon, they are needed to be taken down, the salesperson said.
"Amazon is simply out of control by selling [products] with 'Coronavirus made in China.' It is sad and outrageous!" one netizen said on Weibo.
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 on its platform.
"Isn't there any review when sellers place products online? The issue comes down to the platform," another netizen wrote.
The topic "Amazon insulting China" gained nearly 1.6 million views until Friday night.
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 systems" 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 other 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.