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Starbucks at ancient temple hard to swallow for some

By Du Liya (Global Times)

08:17, September 24, 2012

The American giant Starbucks has caused heated discussion in China over whether it is appropriate for the world's largest Western coffee shop to set up in the Lingyin Temple, a Buddhist monastery in Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang Province.

The Sina Weibo account of the company's stores in Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces announced Friday that it would open a shop in the monastery on Saturday. The news was reposted over 4,000 times with many biting comments about the odd combination of the modern commercial shops being set up in ancient temples.

A Weibo user said it creates an odd juxtaposition to drink coffee in a setting meant for meditation, as Starbucks symbolizes foreign culture and Lingyin represents traditional Chinese culture.

Another user complained that even religious sites are not immune from the invasion of foreign culture.

"The new coffee shop is located outside of the central scenic area requiring a 20-minute walk," a staff member surnamed Wang with the management office of the temple told the Global Times, adding that Starbucks has met all the strict requirements the management office sets for commercial establishments.

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