Mercedes in China apologizes for quoting Dalai Lama abroad

In this Sept. 23, 2015, photo, models pose next to Mercedes-Benz car models on display during a promotional event at a shopping mall in Beijing. Mercedes-Benz issued an apology in China on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018 for quoting the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader who is reviled by Beijing, on social media abroad in a reflection of foreign companies' heightened sensitivity to the Communist government's possible reaction to their global activities. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

Mercedes-Benz has apologized in China for quoting the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader who is reviled by Beijing, in a social media post abroad

BEIJING — Mercedes-Benz issued an apology in China on Tuesday for quoting the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader who is reviled by Beijing, on social media abroad in a reflection of foreign companies' heightened sensitivity to the Communist government's possible reaction to their global activities.

The apology follows official criticism last month of hotel operator Marriott, fashion brand Zara and other companies that were ordered by Chinese regulators to apologize for calling self-ruled Taiwan and Hong Kong countries on websites or promotional material.

The Dalai Lama quote — "Look at situations from all angles, and you will become more open" — appeared Monday on Mercedes's account on Instagram, one of a number of foreign social media services Beijing tries to prevent China's public from seeing. Chinese web surfers with access to technology that allows them to see past the filters copied it onto domestic social media.

In a statement on its Chinese social media account, the unit of Daimler AG did not mention the Dalai Lama but apologized for "wrong information" that "hurt the feelings of Chinese people."

A Daimler spokeswoman in Beijing, Simonette Illi, said the company acted at its own initiative. She said to her knowledge, the company had not heard from Chinese authorities about the quote.

The company statement promised to "take concrete action to deepen our understanding, including colleagues abroad, of Chinese culture and values."

Asked whether that meant Mercedes' global marketing would be designed with official Chinese sentiments in mind, Illi said, "What we are striving for is that, as we are a globally active company, we establish an understanding for cultural tolerance."

Global companies look to China to drive revenue and increasingly design autos, consumer electronics and other products and services sold worldwide to appeal to Chinese consumers.

Beijing rejects accusations of human rights and other abuses as improper interference in its affairs but is increasingly assertive about demanding other governments enforce its political positions in their own countries.

Tibet is especially sensitive for Beijing - one of a handful of "core interests" over which Chinese leaders say they would go to war.

In the case of Marriott, the official Xinhua News Agency cited a company executive as saying an employee abroad who "liked" a posting on Twitter citing the Tibet mention would be fired.

Twitter also cannot be seen by Chinese web surfers without technology to evade Beijing's filters, though Xinhua and other official entities use the service to spread the ruling Communist Party's views abroad.

Beijing accuses the Dalai Lama of leading a movement that wants to split Tibet from China. He says he only wants autonomy and to protect the region's distinctive Buddhist culture.

Communist troops invaded the isolated Himalayan territory in 1950. The Dalai Lama fled into exile in India in 1959 following a failed uprising. He stepped down in 2011 as political leader of Tibetan exiles but remained a Buddhist spiritual leader.

In November, a Chinese soccer team that was to play in Germany walked off the field in Mainz after people in the stands unfurled a Tibetan flag.

The Chinese team returned to the field for that match following a 25-minute delay. The rest of their games were suspended after German officials said they could not grant a Chinese demand to prohibit demonstrations.

Related News

US tycoon's China scholarship project opens doors...

Sep 10, 2016

A new scholarship program intended to rival the prestigious Rhodes Scholarships and build...

China says it can't end North Korea nuke program...

Sep 12, 2016

China says the United States has inflamed the conflict on the Korean Peninsula and must carry the...

China's electric vehicle industry shaken by...

Sep 13, 2016

China's electric vehicle industry, a flagship for Beijing's technology ambitions, has been rocked...

Asian markets lower after Wall Street decline

Sep 15, 2016

Asian stock markets were mostly lower Thursday following Wall Street's decline in light trading...

Tesla's Autopilot system under scrutiny in fatal...

Sep 15, 2016

Tesla faces new scrutiny in China about its vehicle Autopilot system after state television...

China launches second space station, Tiangong 2

Sep 15, 2016

China has launched its second space station in a sign of the growing sophistication of its...

You may also like these

Asian stocks rise after Wall Street gains

Dec 21, 2016

Asian stocks are higher after U.S. stocks rose to record levels despite attacks in Germany and...

China begins to ease its 2,000-year-old monopoly...

Jan 3, 2017

China has started an overhaul of its salt industry, easing a monopoly that has existed in some form...

McDonald's sells China business in deal worth up...

Jan 9, 2017

Fast-food giant McDonald's is selling a controlling stake in its China business to a group of...

China exports shrink as Trump trade tensions loom

Jan 13, 2017

China's exports fell back into contraction again last month, signaling renewed weakness for the...

China state media call Trump's Taiwan strategy...

Jan 16, 2017

China's state-run media says President-elect Donald Trump "speaks like a rookie" and called his...

Financial Markets

The Financial Capital is your independent source for finance information and advice. We provide insights and offer advice from financial experts so you can make the best decisions.

Contact us: sales@thefinancialcapi.com