Feb 13, 2018

Tibet: Mercedes-Benz Bows to Chinese Pressure and Apologises for Using Dalai Lama Quote

Mercedes-Benz issued a public apology, responding to Chinese authorities’ reaction about the use of a Dalai Lama quote in one of their advertisement campaign. The International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) condemns this act of giving in to Chinese pressure and blames Mercedes-Benz of exporting Chinese censorship worldwide. Similar events in the recent past have shown that Beijing gets more and more emboldened to not only suppress minorities’ rights within its own borders, but also seeks to extend its reach internationally by pressuring other countries’ governments to curtail Chinese minorities’ rights abroad.


This article was published by International Campaign for Tibet:

The International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) is dismayed to learn that German carmaker Mercedes-Benz had apologized to the Chinese authorities for using a Dalai Lama quote on its Instagram page.

Reuters reported that Mercedes-Benz had posted an advertisement for its cars on Instagram with a quote from the Dalai Lama: “Look at situations from all angles and you will become more open”. The post quickly attracted the criticism of Chinese netizens, despite the fact that Instagram is not accessible in China except through VPN connections.

In reaction, Mercedes-Benz deleted the ad and posted an apology on its Weibo page. In it, the company apologized for its “extremely erroneous message” saying,

“Taking this incident as a guide, we will immediately take practical actions to deepen our understanding of Chinese culture and values - including for our overseas colleagues - and regulate our behavior to prevent such incidents from occurring again.”

“The behavior of the car maker is a shameful kowtowing to dictatorship,” International Campaign for Tibet Executive Director in Germany, Kai Müller, said. He added, “Mercedes-Benz not only adapts to the language rules of the Chinese Communist Party, but even pledges to support Beijing in its worldwide effort to export its censorship. This seems almost ironic in light of the Dalai Lama’s quotation that was used: “Look at situations from all angles and you will become more open.””

Müller said, “The Dalai Lama enjoys a high reputation throughout the world. When Mercedes-Benz participates in the denigration of a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, it is also a denigration of the Dalai Lama’s values of nonviolence, compassion and respect for others. And it is a slap in the face of many customers of the company around the world who believe in values such as freedom, democracy and human rights.”

 Photo courtesy of Fifi by Internet Campaign for Tibet Brussels Facebook