Saturday, July 14, 2007

Forbidden Coffee

Starbucks Closes Controversial Coffeehouse in China's Forbidden City
BEIJING — Starbucks has closed a coffeehouse in China's former imperial palace, the company said Saturday, ending a seven-year presence that sparked protests by Chinese critics who said it stained the image of a key historical site.

The froth over Starbucks at Beijing's 587-year-old Forbidden City has highlighted Chinese sensitivity about cultural symbols and unease over an influx of foreign pop culture.

Starbucks closed the 200-square-foot outlet Friday after Forbidden City managers decided they wanted all shops on its grounds to operate under the palace's brand name, said Eden Woon, Starbucks' vice president for Greater China.

My wife and I actually visited this Starbucks during our tour of the Forbidden City.


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