CARTOON: China Offended Yet Again

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Mercedes apologized for an Instagram post that quoted the Dalai Lama.

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The feelings of the Chinese people were again shattered this week when German automaker Daimler AG lifted a quote from the Dalai Lama to advertise a Mercedes Benz on Instagram.

The quote, which read: “Look at situations from all angles, and you will become more open,” was not well received by Chinese Instagram users, who posted predictably vitriolic comments in response. This was followed by repeated admonishments in China's state-run Global Times.

Never mind that Instagram is blocked in China, so citizens would require a VPN to get offended by the slogan.

Mercedes Benz, which sold over 600,000 cars in China in 2017, quickly issued an apology, vowing to “deepen their understanding of Chinese culture.”

This is the latest in a so-called “apology spree” that has gripped China for the past few weeks.

Supplicant companies include hotel chain Marriott, which listed Tibet, Macau, Hong Kong and Taiwan as separate countries, along with Delta Airlines and clothing retailer Zara, both of which inadvertently declared Taiwan a country.

Notice a theme?

Japanese household retailer Muji was also ordered to destroy “problem maps” in a catalog which apparently didn't include Taiwan as part of China and failed to show the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands. Japan's chief cabinet secretary defended Muji.

China has been active in picking off Taiwan's diplomatic allies in the past year, and it seems like that pressure is quickly extending into the private realm.

One thing is for sure, though: Mercedes isn't going to rock the boat too much in Taiwan – their sales have been booming on the island country for the past few years.

They could, however, stand to look at the situation from more angles and become more open.

Editor: Morley J Weston

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