Berlin, November 9, 2012: German corporation Daimler has sponsored a series of propaganda events for the Chinese Communist Party – known for its suppression of dissidents and crackdown in Tibet – ahead of its Party Congress in Beijing this week. Along with Swiss watchmaker Rolex and two Chinese sponsors, the Daimler brand Mercedes Benz is prominently listed as a supporter of a concert in praise of the Community Party in July, including a performance of ‘The CPC, dear mother’ and a ‘Hymn dedicated to the great CPC’.

News of the sponsorship has emerged at a time when Beijing is under lockdown for the gathering of top leaders for a once in a decade leadership transition. The number of self-immolations in Tibet has spiked in the past few days as Tibetans seek to make a strong statement at the time of the Party Congress, reaching a total of 71 Tibetans who have set themselves on fire to protest Chinese rule.

ICT Germany’s Executive Director Kai Muller said today: “It is shameful that Daimler sponsored an event intended to glorify a Party that suppresses its own people and is responsible for a violent crackdown against peaceful protest in Tibet. In supporting the blatant lies of a one-Party state that stops at nothing to enforce its rule, Daimler demonstrates its lack of concern for both Chinese and Tibetan people, who strive towards freedom and democracy. It calls into question Daimler’s claims that integrity forms the foundation of its business.”

In the “10th report on the Federal Governments human rights policy”, the German government had just recently reiterated concerns about the Chinese human rights record, stating that the Chinese government would “insist on its claim to undivided power and enforce it relentlessly”. As a consequence, the Chinese government had “curtailed political liberties” in the past two years severely, which shows “in draconian verdicts for dissidents and human rights defenders”. The German government underlined that it considers the situation in Tibet “particularly critical”.

Chinese dissident writer Liao Yiwu, who now lives in Berlin after serving four years in prison after writing a poem about the Tiananmen Square massacre, said that the Chinese state is a “massive scrap heap that must break apart” and accused the West of “colluding with the executioners under the cover of free trade.” Liao was speaking as he collected the German Book Trade Peace Prize, the country’s second highest award after the Georg Buechner Prize, and its endowment of $32,000 at a ceremony attended by German President Joachim Gauck.

Daimler’s website states that “Integrity is one of our four corporate values and forms the foundation of our business activities. Acting with integrity requires not only that we abide by the law, but also that our activities follow ethical principles and are based on a shared understanding of values.” It is the only automaker to have a Board of Management position with responsibility for Integrity and Legal Affairs. (Daimler: Overview).

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