Monks at Po Lin Monastery have demanded a “sincere” and “conspicuous” apology from food manufacturer Amoy, following an advertising campaign that they claim desecrated the world’s largest outdoor bronze statue of Buddha.


Amoy’s advert, which ran on the front page of the South China Morning Post, depicted the statue holding two bottles of the company’s soy sauce in his left palm and two chopsticks in his raised right hand. A spokeswoman for the company has admitted that Amoy failed to pay careful religious consideration when it designed the ad: “The idea was meant to draw an analogy of Buddhism with Chinese cuisine as both have a long history and it was to target foreign readers.”


On Wednesday, the firm issued a draft apology to be placed in the Post and the Apple Daily next week. It read: “Amoy Food would like to apologise to the Po Lin Monastery for any misunderstanding [caused by the advert and] it was not the intention of the company to show any disrespect to the holy statue of the Buddha.”


A spokeswoman from the monastery maintained however that the draft is not “sincere” and has demanded a more sincere apology to be made to all of the Buddhists in Hong Kong. The monastery has sought legal advice on whether the advert infringed on the monk’s patent of the statue, and was set to take court action until Amoy pulled the campaign. The monks have demanded that a more “conspicuous” statement be placed in at least six newspapers for two weeks.