"Look at situations from all angles, and you will become more open." These words are hardly controversial, but in China, the figure who spoke them is. It's for that reason that Mercedes-Benz and its parent company have each apologized after the German automaker included the quote from the Dalai Lama in a #MondayMotivation Instagram post this week, per the BBC. Instagram isn't accessible in China, where the Tibetan spiritual leader is viewed as a threatening separatist, but Chinese users who caught wind of the post were furious, with one likening it to quoting Hitler, per Shanghaiist. After the post was deleted, Mercedes-Benz offered a resounding apology Tuesday on social media site Weibo, describing the ad as carrying "an extremely erroneous message."
While China's Foreign Ministry approved of the apology, it wasn't enough for some. The People's Daily newspaper said the apology "lacks sincerity and reflects … [a] lack of understanding of Chinese culture and values." Mercedes-Benz's parent company, Daimler, then sent a written apology to China's ambassador to Germany on Wednesday, acknowledging "the hurt and grief that its negligent and insensitive mistake has caused to the Chinese people." Too much? Not for a company that wants to keep a foothold in China's massive consumer market, reports the Telegraph, which notes the band Placebo was permanently banned from China for posting a photo of the Dalai Lama on Instagram. (Read more China stories.)