Coffee, Tea, Starbucks
BBC reported today that
The Starbucks outlet has been in the Forbidden City since 2000
a Starbucks coffee shop operating on the historic site of Beijing’s Forbidden City has closed down after huge protests.
The Forbidden City was built in 1420 and was home to 24 emperors until the end of imperial rule in 1911. Tea was the beverage of choice.
Is this closing a culture issue (the forbidden city is a landmark UNESCO World Heritage Site) or a backlash of the larger US-Chinese ongoing tension due to issues of safety of a variety of products made in China?
The US giant opened its first Chinese branch in 1999 and now has more than 200 outlets in China.
However, the one in the Forbidden City has caused controversy since it opened in 2000.
Earlier this year, Rui Chenggang, an anchorman for China Central Television, wrote in his blog that the shop’s presence in the Forbidden City was “not globalising but trampling over Chinese culture”. An online campaign began for the removal of Starbucks from the City and obtained over 3 million signatures
Starbucks has defended its outlet, saying the firm “appreciates the deep history and culture of the Forbidden City and has operated in a respectful manner”.
“We have provided a welcome place of rest for thousands of tourists, both Chinese and foreign, for more than six years,” the company said in a statement.
The Starbucks Shop in the Forbidden City is now closed.