Home / Marketing/ ’Tank man’ video for Leica sparks outcry in China ahead of Tiananmen anniversary

’Tank man’ video for Leica sparks outcry in China ahead of Tiananmen anniversary


Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Tuesday, 23 April 2019 00:00

Facebook

BEIJING, REUTERS: Germany’s Leica Camera AG drew criticism on Chinese social media over a video depicting a news photographer covering the crackdown on pro-democracy protests in and around Beijing’s Tiananmen Square three decades ago. 

The five-minute dramatisation, released last week, touches on a highly sensitive topic in China. The ruling Communist Party has never declared how many people died in the crackdown and discussion of the incident is censored on social media. 

The video shows the photographer hiding and running from Chinese-speaking policemen before taking a picture that has come to symbolise the protests - the “tank man” - a protester standing in front of a convoy of tanks to block their path. The video ends with the Leica logo. 

The hashtag “Leica insulting China” surfaced on China’s Twitter-like Weibo late on Thursday, before being censored. Users left hundreds of comments on Leica’s official Weibo account criticising the company for the video. 

“Get out of China, you are done,” one user posted. 

Others cheered the video as daring ahead of the 30th anniversary of the crackdown on June 4, but the majority of posts were scrubbed from Chinese social media by Friday and the comments section on two of its most recent Weibo posts were disabled. 

Users were also prevented from posting messages using Leica’s English or Chinese name with warnings that they were violating laws, regulations or the Weibo community guidelines. 

Leica did not respond to several calls and emails from Reuters seeking comment on the video, which included other dramatisations about news photography. 

However, Leica spokeswoman Emily Anderson was quoted by Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post as saying the video was not an officially sanctioned marketing film commissioned by the firm. 

“Leica Camera AG must therefore distance itself from the content shown in the video and regrets any misunderstandings or false conclusions that may have been drawn,” it quoted her as saying by email, adding that the firm had taken measures to not share the film on Leica’s social media channels. 

The video was created by Brazilian ad agency F/Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi and published on its verified Twitter account on April 16 with a tweet in Portuguese that said: “Inspired by the stories of photographers who spare no effort so that everyone can witness reality, Leica pays tribute to these brave professionals.” Advertising websites such as Ads of the World republished the video saying it was created for Leica. 

Some netizens suggested the video could put pressure on Chinese telecoms equipment provider Huawei Technologies Co Ltd , which uses Leica lenses in its flagship high-end phones. 

 


Share This Article

Facebook Twitter


DISCLAIMER:

1. All comments will be moderated by the Daily FT Web Editor.

2. Comments that are abusive, obscene, incendiary, defamatory or irrelevant will not be published.

3. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.

4. Kindly use a genuine email ID and provide your name.

5. Spamming the comments section under different user names may result in being blacklisted.

COMMENTS

Today's Columnists

Eradicating ‘educated terrorists’ virus with medicine of education via good character capsule

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

The whole world was traumatised on 21 April by the tragic events in Sri Lanka; many ‘educated terrorists’ had decided to walk into churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka and blow themselves up. The attack took the lives of more than 250 people.


An aborted university and squandered opportunity

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

About three years ago when passing through Punanai along the arterial road between Habarana and Batticaloa, I noticed a few brick structures appearing in a parched land amid thick shrubs and woody trees. It was almost a desolate spot where I could no


The delineations of religions, politics and media

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

In Ashoka’s Edicts, it is rightfully stated, “Never think or say your religion is the best. Never denounce the religion of others. But honour in them whatever is worthy of honour.” [It is widely believed Ashoka the Great was the first leader t


The good karma of being dark

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

“The memoir of an unrepentant dark-skinned girl, a misfit who fitted in, a juggler of home and work, who thanks to her good karma escaped relatively unbruised. Still unsure why she stubbornly refuses to conform. But as you flip through these pages


Columnists More