'Tank man' video for Leica camera sparks outcry in China

21 Avril, 2019, 01:09 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • This iconic image is shown in 'The Hunt', a promotional video for Leica

The film ends with the caption, "This film is dedicated to those who lend their eyes to make us see", and a flash of the Leica logo. However, the video has caused a major backlash in China.

But it has touched on a highly sensitive topic in China, where the ruling Communist Party has never declared how many people died in the protests.

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.

Searches on Chinese social media for the film or discussion of it failed to return any results on Saturday, suggesting that China's massive censorship machine was blocking the video and any comments about it. Meanwhile, the company has disabled comments on its latest Weibo post. The South China Morning Post reports any post containing the brand name in either English or Chinese can not be published on Weibo as it is "a violation of relevant laws and regulations of the Weibo Community Convention".

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The Hunt was created by Brazilian ad agency F/Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi.

A Leica's spokesperson later told the South China Morning Post that the film was "not an officially sanctioned marketing film commissioned by the company".

A short promotional film released this week depicts Leica-wielding photojournalists at work in danger zones around the world, focusing on one Western shooter's struggle to get in place for the famed "tank man" photo. A statement from Leica provided to the South China Morning post reveals the video was not commisioned by the camera maker, which has distanced itself from the content. So, the recent incident over Leica's video put Huawei in the center of the scandal, too. As for Huawei, the company has reportedly declined to comment about the Leica's ad.

Still, despite the ban, not all comments about Leica's controversial ad are negative. According to SCMP, human rights activists in China have actually praised it. Still, the film could have costly implications for the German company as the Chinese government is intensifying its campaign to scrub the domestic Internet ahead of the 30th anniversary of the June 4 crackdown this year.

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