Beijing saves the German camera brand Leica in the ban on the social media. The following is a promotional video with a reference to an iconic photograph of the so-called ‘tankman’ on the Tiananmen square.
An anonymous Chinese man with plastic bags in hand, on his own, a column of legertanks stops. That is the iconic image that in 1989 the symbol was of the studentenprotest in the Square …
An anonymous Chinese man with plastic bags in hand, on his own, a column of legertanks stops. That is the iconic image that in 1989 the symbol was of the studentenprotest on the Square of Heavenly Peace in Beijing, also known as the Tiananmen square.
Hidden in toilet
Because it will soon be thirty years since that picture was taken, launched the German cameramaker Leica yesterday on the internet a promotional video that dramatized the story of ‘the making of’ of this and other world-famous press photos trying to tell.
The Chinese secret service had at the time, namely in the holes that the incident was filmed and photographed by foreign journalists and wanted to prevent the images of “tankman” were distributed. Therefore, it clogged the American photographer Charles Cole his camera roll in a sink of the toilet in his hotel room. He was out of the hands of the secret service, and won later the World Press Award with the photo.
Brand name blocked
But Cole was not the only symbolic protest on the Tiananmen square knew to immortalize. In total, they were at least four. Newsweek-photographer Stuart Franklin made at the same time, photos of the lonely ‘tankman’, from the same hotel but with a balcony above. Also the photo of Associated Pressphotographer James Widener – which, incidentally, his picture took with a Nikon-device – became world-famous as a symbolic indictment of the bloody precipitated studentenprotest.
No wonder, then, that the promotional video from Leica even thirty years later, China is still in the wrong throat shoot. The video yesterday was hardly on the internet launched or Beijing handle drastically. Also, because, according to the South China Morning Post numerous negative comments poured in about the ‘stupid move’ of Leica.
According to the news agency Bloomberg was the movie in China immediately removed from the internet. On the popular Chinese microblog Weibo, every post with a reference to the brand name Leica in both English and Mandarin – immediately blocked. And that because of ” the violation of relevant laws and regulations of the Weibo Community Convention’.
Contract with Huawei
Despite applause from Chinese human rights activists as Zhou Fengsuo said the German cameramaker on the Chinese sanctions with a painful U-turn. In a press statement, the company took away from the content of the video and apologised for ” all the misunderstandings and false conclusions that could be drawn’. The sales video, which allegedly was created by the Brazilian ad agency F/Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi, that in the past, many award-winning films made for Leica, was also removed from the private socialemediakanalen.
The German cameramaker can be no open conflict with the Chinese government to afford. Leica has in China a lucrative contract with the technology giant, Huawei, which the large-scale high-performance camera lenses for the latest smartphones, including the p9, p10, p20 and p30 models.
Leica is not the first western multinational company by the Chinese government firmly on the fingers is tapped. Foreign multinationals are now death to the regime of China on the toes, because the censorship in the country are becoming more stringent. Especially when it comes to politically sensitive themes, such as the studentenprotest on the Tienanmenplein or the status of Taiwan and Tibet.
So, in the past, western companies like GAP, Delta Air Lines, and Zara already by Beijing addressed because they are on their products or website ‘wrong’ maps were published which include Taiwan and Tibet not part of China (DS, 15 may). Also they had to go through the substance to the relationship with Beijing to repair.