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Fashion brand Zara seeks to distance itself from Hong Kong controversy

(Reuters) - Spanish fashion brand Zara, seeking to avoid becoming embroiled in controversy over protests in Hong Kong, issued a statement on Chinese social media expressing support for China's sovereignty over the Asian financial hub. Zara, owned by the world's biggest clothing retailer Inditex (ITX.MC), made its statement late on Monday after Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao asked if closure of four Hong Kong Zara stores on Monday was in support of a student strike, prompting comment from millions of mainland social media users. Zara said in its statement on China's Weibo social media platform that it supported the "one country, two systems" policy under which China rules Hong Kong and said it had not supported strikes. A source close to Inditex said on Tuesday that some Zara stores in Hong Kong had been forced to delay opening on Monday because staff had trouble getting to work due to transport problems linked to the protests, but that all Zara stores in Hong Kong opened eventually on Monday.

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