The official CCP newspaper People's Daily on February 9, 2018, observed that Daimler’s Chairman Dieter Zetsche and Daimler Greater China’s Chairman Hubertus Troika sent a joint letter of apology to the Chinese ambassador in Germany on Wednesday, sincerely apologizing to China for quoting the Dalai Lama in a social media post. Earlier on February 5, Mercedes-Benz had posted an advertisement on its Instagram account, with the quote: “Look at situations from all angles, and you will become more open.” Below the picture was the line: “Start your week with a fresh perspective on life from the Dalai Lama.” The post promptly triggered anger in China. The next day, Mercedes-Benz issued an apology on Sino Weibo, China’s Twitter-like service, saying the post contained an “extremely wrong message,” and vowed that it would never happen again. The same night, People’s Daily Online published a commentary that called Mercedes-Benz’s an “enemy of the Chinese people,” saying the apology lacked sincerity. It called the ill-intentioned post offensive and challenging the Chinese people. It asked why "even before the dust from Marriott International has settled, international companies dare play with fire.” The People's Daily also said "In recent history, China suffered the humiliation of foreign invasion and aggression. We should understand that the Chinese people cherish state sovereignty and territorial integrity and unity of the nation very much. Mercedes-Benz’s post hurt the feelings of Chinese people. The simple truth is that China’s core interests cannot be challenged, and the Dalai Lama is widely viewed as a dangerous separatist". The editorial noted that “Holding the smelly feet of the Dalai Lama makes you the enemy of the Chinese people.”

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