The simple truth is that China's core interests cannot be challenged, and the Dalai Lama is widely viewed as a dangerous separatist. As the editorial noted, this puts the company squarely against China. "Holding the smelly feet of the Dalai Lama makes you the enemy of the Chinese people.”
As a business, Mercedes-Benz should strive for excellence and its actions should match its words on how economic success and social responsibility go hand in hand. How would Germany feel if a country's company praised Hitler and widely spread his "famous sayings," or the rhetoric of separatist forces in Germany?
Later, Daimler sincerely apologized to the Chinese people and said it has no intention of questioning or challenging China's sovereignty and territorial integrity and that it offers no support of any kind to anti-China separatist forces, which is welcome news. However, there are many Chinese people who still feel that the apology alone is not enough to fix the damage as well as discourage other international companies from challenging China’s core interests.
"A simple apology is not enough. The low cost will just encourage more international companies to challenge [China's core interests]," said a net user on the WeChat account of People's Daily Online.
Using the words of the Dalai Lama to sell a luxury car, Mercedes-Benz said to "look at situations from all angles, and you will become more open." However, China's core interests cannot be challenged from any angle. To be fair, the recent mistakes might not be deliberate attempts to insult the Chinese people or split China, but international companies need to better understand China. This is the message that the Chinese people are trying to get across to international companies: Foreign friends are welcome to do business in China, but there is no room for enemies of the Chinese people.