(TibetanReview.net, Feb08, 2018) – German carmaker Mercedes-Benz has on Feb 6 issued an apology in China for having used a Dalai Lama quote on its Instagram page. The company had, in an advertisement posted for its cars on Instagram, used a quote from the Dalai Lama, saying, “Look at situations from all angles and you will become more open”.
The post quickly attracted criticisms from Chinese netizens. This was despite the fact that Instagram was not accessible in China except through VPN connections, on which too China had recently launched a crackdown.
The apology did not specifically mention the Dalai Lama but apologized for “wrong information” that “hurt the feelings of Chinese people”.
The apology says: “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.”
AP Feb 6 cited Daimler spokeswoman in Beijing, Simonette Illi, as saying the company had acted at its own initiative; that, to her knowledge, it not heard from Chinese authorities about the quote.
Asked whether that meant Mercedes’ global marketing would be designed with official Chinese sentiments in mind, Illi has said, “What we are striving for is that, as we are a globally active company, we establish an understanding for cultural tolerance.”
China insists that the Dalai Lama, who in 2011 gave up his position as the political and administrative leader of the Tibetan people and exile administration, seeks to split Tibet from China. But the 1989 Nobel Peace laureate has for decades called for genuine autonomy for his historically independent homeland so that the region’s distinctive Buddhist culture and ethnic identity would be protected.