Mercedes-Benz has apologised in China for quoting the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader who is reviled by Beijing, in a social media post.
The car maker’s apology is a reflection of foreign companies’ heightened sensitivity to the Communist government’s possible reaction to their activities worldwide.
The quote appeared on Instagram, which is blocked by China’s internet filters. However, Chinese web surfers were able to copy it onto domestic social media.
In a statement, Mercedes-Benz said it was sorry over “wrong information” that “hurt the feelings of Chinese people”.
A spokeswoman for Mercedes’ parent company, Daimler AG, said it acted at its own initiative and had not heard from Chinese authorities.
Last month, Beijing ordered Marriott, Zara and other companies to apologise for referring to Taiwan and Hong Kong as countries on their websites or promotional material.