Mercedes-Benz Dalai Lama Quote in Ad Rattles China

Mercedes Benz Cars is seen at the launch of the Mercedes Benz research and development centre in Tel Aviv Israel

Luxury vehicle maker Mercedes-Benz posted an image on Instagram on Monday of a white coupe parked on the beach.

"Look at situations from all angles, and you will become more open" - appeared in an ad posted on Mercedes' Instagram account on Monday.

Below the picture of the white Benz was the line: "Start your week with a fresh perspective on life from the Dalai Lama".

Beijing authorities have labeled the Dalai Lama as a "wolf in monk's clothes" that is pushing for Tibetan separatism though supposed "spiritual terrorism". The Chinese Communist Party, however, considers him a political agitator, a unsafe exile and a "wolf in monk's clothing", a sentiment that some Chinese citizens share. Beijing considers Tibet to be part of its territory and comes down hard on any suggestions to the contrary.

Sir, - Mercedes-Benz has had to apologise to China for using a quote from the Dalai Lama in an Instagram advert.

"This morning, we are aware of our worldwide social media account sharing some extremely wrong information, and we are here to apologise sincerely", the statement on Weibo reads.

China's state media was less conciliatory, with the online edition of the Communist Party mouthpiece People's Daily running an editorial attacking Mercedes after it published an apology.

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Taking this as a guide, we will immediately take practical actions to deepen our understanding of Chinese culture and values, including our overseas colleagues, and to regulate our actions so as to prevent such incidents from happening again.

However, a greater number of global companies have begun bowing to the demands of Beijing to keep the door to that market open.

Marriott International had its website in China shut down by regulators after it caused a similar uproar, inviting boycotts from Chinese consumers. Both Qantas and Marriott deferred to Beijing's wishes, with one Marriott executive calling it "a huge mistake, probably one of the biggest in my career".

Trendy Japanese retailer Muji has also faced the wrath of what the foreign ministry called the "new era" of a "more confident and open" China.

The editorial continued: "Some foreign companies are dredging up gold in China's market at the same time as they are harming the Chinese people, what do they want to do?"

The quote was posted on Instagram, which is officially blocked in China. Instagram is banned in China, many pointed out.

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