The slogans "Save a dog, eat a Chinese" and "Save a shark, eat a Chinese" on T-shirts sold by a German online clothing retailer has sparked outrage in China, with China's embassy in Germany demanding an explanation and apology from the company.
The shirt designs, uploaded by two users monigote and Quentin1984 to Spreadshirt.com, were first called out on March 4.
Netizens were appalled by the text and called it racist, with Chinese people from different parts of the world protesting against it.
Facebook user Dillon Chen, who lives in Taiwan according to his profile, wrote on Spreadshirt's Facebook page: "Is this really necessary?? Does your company need money that bad that you need to piss off the entire Asian community just (to) make a few bucks? Or you have talentless designers?"
Another commenter, Cf Tang, said he was from Hong Kong, "but I am also Chinese in your racist eyes, and no one eats dogs and cats in Hong Kong or Taiwan".
Facebook user Sam Liu wrote on Spreadshirt's page on March 7, saying he felt stereotyped and offended.
He said the design was typically racist and discriminatory.
"I would never agree, nor other Chinese people," he wrote. He added that the slogan promoted hatred instead of contributing to the cause of saving sharks.
Spreadshirt responded on Friday (March 10) on its Facebook page.
It said it had discussed the two community-submitted designs, and decided "to keep the two designs in question" based on its "open platform principle".
While this suggests that it retained the designs on its site, media widely reported that the shirts have been taken down.
A check by The Straits Times showed that the two designs were no longer available on the site.
Chinanews.com on Friday reported that a spokesman from the Chinese embassy in Germany expressed great dissatisfaction over the issue.
The spokesman also requested for the company to remove all T-shirts insulting Chinese from the website, and to give an explanation and apology to the Chinese authorities.
The embassy added that it was in negotiations with Spreadshirt and German authorities.