China outraged by Mercedes-Benz Instagram post
Instagram may be banned in China, but people still care about what appears on the social media service.
Mercedes-Benz learned this the hard way when it posted an Instagram image of a white car parked on a beach, along with a quote attributed to the Dalai Lama: “Look at the situations from all angles, and you will become more open. #MondayMotivation”
That triggered a swarm of angry comments from Chinese users. While the Dalai Lama is celebrated outside China for his Buddhist teachings, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader is condemned inside the country.
The company deleted the post and issued a lengthy apology in Chinese -- not on Instagram, but on the popular Chinese microblog Weibo. It reads, in part: “We understand the incident has offended the feelings of the Chinese people, including our employees in China. For this, we offer our sincerest apology.”
State media weren’t satisfied. A commentary on People’s Daily says the apology “wasn’t sincere enough” and criticizes the company for failing to understand Chinese culture and values.
Last month, international hotel chain Marriott caused a similar uproar after its website listed Tibet and Taiwan as separate countries, and a U.S.-based employee “liked” a tweet supporting Tibetan independence. Beijing blocked Marriott’s website and app for a week.