STARBUCKS China yesterday renamed a newly-opened outlet near one of Buddhism's most famous temples after a wave of controversy over what critics called a "cultural invasion."
The coffee shop in Hangzhou had opened as the Lingyin Temple Starbucks, leading some people to believe it was located inside the renowned temple.
However, the company said in a statement yesterday that the coffee shop was actually in the Lingyin scenic area, about 20 minutes' walk from the temple's entrance. It said the outlet would now be known as the Lingyin Starbucks.
Wang Shan, deputy director of the Lingyin office of the West Lake Administration in Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang Province, said: "Actually, the coffeehouse is a long distance from the temple. It is located in the tourist service area on Lingyin Road outside of the temple, as part of the supporting facilities."
The temple's administration urged the cafe to change its name to make it clear it was not located inside the temple.
In a heated online debate, critics said the US chain's commercial style would spoil the serenity that an oriental Buddhism temple should embrace.
Supporters, however, said that the talk of an "invasion" was misplaced as the outlet was not inside the temple but on a nearby commercial street where a KFC restaurant and a shopping mall had been open for more than six months.
The incident follows calls in 2009 to stop an earlier "cultural invasion" when the Seattle-based coffee chain had to move its outlet out of Beijing's Forbidden City seven years after it opened.
Critics urged closure of the outlet they said was a "humiliation" for a culture exemplified by the ancient buildings.
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