ISIS – a combination of letters that makes neck hairs stand on end – generally refers to the infamous ‘Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.’ Even in China, a country that was, until recently, spared ISIS’s wrath, that alignment of letters has never been particularly well received.
So when the owner of a Shenzhen clothing shop with the name – you guessed it – ‘ISIS’ was investigated by police earlier this month for ties to terrorism, few onlookers were surprised.
According to Shenzhen Daily, police in Longgang confirmed the shop was investigated because its sign and price tags featured the name ISIS. Admittedly, they found no ties between the shop’s owner, Chen Hong, and the extremists currently wreaking global havoc.
Chen claims to have named the store ISIS because it sounds like a Chinese expression “意思意思” (yisi yisi), meaning to give gifts out of kindness.
Some reports have stated that Chen actually operates two stores in Shenzhen under the ISIS name, although we were unable to independently verify these claims at publication time.
“I opened this shop two years ago, and I didn’t know anything about ISIS back then,” Chen, 35, is quoted as telling Shenzhen Daily.
Chen allegedly considered changing the name last year, when news about the terrorist group’s atrocities earned global condemnation, but decided to keep the ISIS title, figuring no one would notice.
The signboard was willingly removed on November 18, after the police investigation, to avoid any misunderstandings. Chen has yet to come up with a replacement name, but may be eligible for a government subsidy when she does, since she spent RMB20,000 on the original ISIS sign, according to the Shenzhen Daily story.
In contrast to other reports, a November 27 Wall Street Journal article sheds some doubt on whether the name will be permanently changed.
“Now we are thinking about whether we need to change our name, although we haven’t made a decision yet,” Chen is quoted in the Wall Street Journal. “We may still use the name, as we are far from those overseas countries.”
The moral of the story? If your business happens to share its name with a vicious terrorist organization, you may consider changing it – fast.
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[Image via Weibo]
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