Mercedes-Benz apologizes to Chinese for quoting Dalai Lama

Mercedes-Benz apologizes to Chinese for quoting Dalai Lama. (Shutterstock)
Updated 06 February 2018
0

Mercedes-Benz apologizes to Chinese for quoting Dalai Lama

BEIJING/SHANGHAI: Mercedes-Benz apologized to Chinese consumers on Tuesday for an Instagram post showing one of its luxury cars along with a quote from exiled Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama, whom Beijing considers a dangerous separatist.
In a statement on its official Weibo, the German car maker said it had deleted the controversial post immediately, and offered its sincerest apology to Chinese people, in a sign that foreign brands are growing more wary of the reputational damage that missteps on touchy political issues can bring.
In a “MondayMotivation” hashtagged post on Instagram, Mercedes showed one of its white cars on a beach along with a quote attributed to the Dalai Lama: “Look at the situations from all angles, and you will become more open.”
The post soon drew criticism from eagled-eyed Chinese netizens. The Dalai Lama fled into exile in India in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule, though the Nobel Peace Prize winning monk says he simply seeks genuine autonomy for his Himalayan homeland.
“We will promptly take steps to deepen our understanding of Chinese culture and values, our international staff included, to help standardize our actions to ensure this sort of issue doesn’t happen again,” the Daimler-owned company said in the statement.
Foreign brands in China are trying to court Chinese shoppers who have growing purchasing power, but consumers and regulators are increasingly willing to challenge brands over actions that go against what Beijing deems appropriate.
Last month, firms including Delta Air Lines and Spanish apparel maker Zara were reprimanded by authorities for listing Taiwan and Tibet as countries on their websites. China claims sovereignty over both areas.
Marriott International had its website in China shut down by regulators after it caused a similar uproar, inviting boycotts from Chinese consumers.
China is the biggest overseas market for many international brands and the government is pivoting to a new economic growth model that is driven more by consumption rather than manufacturing and investment.


Couple awarded $1 million in voyeurism lawsuit

Updated 18 August 2018
0

Couple awarded $1 million in voyeurism lawsuit

BELLINGHAM, Washington: A judge has awarded a Washington couple $1 million in damages after they sued a former lifeguard and city employee who admitted to videotaping women while they used a staff changing area at an aquatic center.
The Bellingham Herald reports the woman in the lawsuit said the video voyeurism caused her mental anguish, altered her marriage, lifestyle and diminished her love for swimming due to the anxiety she feels when changing into a swimsuit.
The woman and her husband filed a lawsuit against the city of Bellingham and the suspect. Bellingham is 90 miles (145 kilometers) north of Seattle.
On Tuesday, Judge Raquel Montoya-Lewis awarded $750,000 to the woman and $250,000 to her husband, more than their lawyer asked for.
The court dismissed her claims against the city in March.