Does this ad insult China?
FRENCH car-maker Citroen has apologized to China for running a full-page advertisement in several Spanish newspapers featuring a poster of the late Chinese leader Mao Zedong pulling a wry face at a red car.
The text talked up Citroen's position as a car sales leader. "It's true, we are leaders, but at Citroen the revolution never stops," the advertisement said.
The Mao poster is similar to the huge painting of the former Chairman gazing out over the Tian'anmen Square. However, this portrait has been distorted to show Mao with pursed lips and squinting eyes. This image has infuriated Chinese Internet users who saw the alterations as a slight.
"As a Chinese, I felt greatly insulted when I saw this ad," a posting on Web portal Tianya.cn said. "It is not on
Citroen pulled the ad and apologized to China in a letter sent to the Chinese newspaper the Global Times last week. But some commentators argue people are making too much fuss over an ad which did nothing wrong other than poking harmless fun at a politician. They point out this is just the kind of humor that advertisements often resort to.
So do you think Citroen was wrong to run the advertisement?
The use of Mao Zedong's image is disrespectful and hurtful to the Chinese public.
1. The French can call it humor, but the way they represented Chairman Mao's portrait in the advertisement is disrespectful, if not derogatory. It is politically and culturally unacceptable for them to make fun of a leader of another country.
2. From a business perspective, it was also a bad move. China is a big auto market for Citroen. But according to a recent on
3. Even in the context of globalization, companies should try to avoid sensitive issues regarding other countries' cultures, religions and politics. Chairman Mao is well beyond a common political figure in China. He is a symbol that is closely related to the nation's dignity.
It is just an auto ad, and it is not really irreverent. We needn't take it so seriously.
1. If we saw the whole series of Citroen ads in Spain, we would see other historic figures, such as Napoleon Bonaparte, the great French emperor. Citroen was not making fun of Chairman Mao, but referring to his revolutionary spirit.
2. It is a commercial, not a political or cultural statement, and it appeared in Spain, not China. No harm was done to the Chinese people. Mao Zedong is an internationally famous leader, and the ad won't make people think any less of him.
poke fun at: 开玩笑
It's not right to poke fun at other people's physical shortcomings. 嘲笑别人的生理缺陷是不对的。
make a fuss over sth: 大惊小怪,不必要的操心
You look just fine. Stop making a fuss over your appearance. 你看起来很好,不要再为你的外表担心了.