Apple has been criticised in world newspapers for replacing the Dalai Lama with Amelia Earhart in its advertisements run in Asia because, it said, the Tibetan spiritual leader was not "easily recognised" in the region.
The exiled spiritual leader who escaped Chinese rule in 1959, gave Apple permission to use his image in its "Think Different" campaign but according to the South China Morning Post, Apple didn't think the Dalai Lama was well known enough to be recognised.
But Tseten Samdup, a spokesman for the Dalai Lama, said he was sure Apple didn't want to offend the Chinese with an image of one of its fiercest critics. Asked if the company was ready to offend Tibetans instead, Samdup said: "Yes, you could say that."
Apple is understood to have launched its campaign based on celebrities who are most recognisable in the region but according to a Hong Kong poll, Amelia Earhart is not better known than the Dalai Lama, the Post said.
"His Holiness gave his permission (to use his image) to Apple," said Samdup "Apple has got to be fair to Tibet and it is being unfairly selective."
Apple was unable to comment.
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