By Tenzin Jigme
‘Look at situations from all angles, and you will become more open,’ is trending this week on our social media sites. German luxury car maker Mercedes Benz allegedly faced outrage from Chinese netizens after the company used a quote attributed to His Holiness the Dalai Lama as part of their #MondayMotivation ad. The ad features the quote with a white luxury car parked on a beach and was shared on the company’s official Instagram page, on 6 February 2018.
Chinese netizens allegedly expressed outrage and demanded to remove the quote upon seeing the post and sought apology for hurting the sentiments of the Chinese people from Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes Benz. Ironically, Instagram is blocked in China like most global social media sites. Only Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter, is widely popular in China.
Following the alleged outrage by Chinese netizens, the step taken by the company to apologise to China was widely criticised. Tibet supporters and activists accused Daimler of kowtowing to dictatorships and taking a back step on free speech.
The Tibet Initiative Deutschland which is founded in 1989 in Germany, an organization that advocates for Human rights and right to self-determination in Tibet, posted pictures with persons holding placard reading ‘Consider a situation from all sides and your wrist more open’ in their official Facebook page.
The case of Mercedes Benz is not the first instance that invited the wrath of China. Earlier this year, Marriot hotel had to bow down to China over a questionnaire in which the hotel chain listed Tibet as a country. Delta Airlines and Zara, the European clothing retailer, were also chastised for listing Tibet and Taiwan as separate countries.
*Tenzin Jigme is DIIR’s social media journalist