Home » Featured Posts » This Leica Video Just Got ‘Leica’ Banned in China

This Leica Video Just Got ‘Leica’ Banned in China

Leica has sparked a huge backlash in China over a short film released by its ad agency in Brazil. The video (warning: strong language) depicts a news photographer covering the Chinese government’s crackdown during pro-democracy protests in Beijing in 1989.

Titled “The Hunt,” the 5-minute video follows a photojournalist scrambling to continue documenting history from a hotel window in Beijing while trying to evade government authorities.

“We hunt. We chase. We fight. We risk it all,” the photographer’s voice states. “Oddly enough, we spend our entire lives in search of something that, for the most part, simply is not… until it is. And as the grand moment draws near, we smile to ourselves and proudly whisper, ‘I’m a hunter.’”

The film ends with the photographer pointing his camera out of a window. And as he focuses, a reflection of the iconic “Tank Man” photo is seen in his lens.

Still frame by Leica/F/Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi.

“This film is dedicated to those who lend their eyes to make us see,” a message at the end of the film reads.

“Inspired by stories of photographers who spared no efforts for everyone to see reality, Leica launches today a new production dedicated to these professionals,” Leica’s Brazilian ad agency, F/Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi, told PetaPixel when the video was released on April 15th. “It is a unique narrative about risk, passion, and history.”

The original upload on YouTube was up for just a few before it was abruptly removed. It turns out Chinese citizens took to social media to criticize Leica for the dramatization, claiming it was an insult to China.

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

Others tried to attack Leica’s collaboration with the Chinese smartphone maker Huawei, which has been prominently using Leica camera technology.

“Do you even deserve to collaborate with our patriotic Huawei?” another Weibo user wrote.

It wasn’t long before the Chinese government stepped in and censored the conversation by banning the word ‘Leica’ in both English and Chinese on Weibo (“China’s Twitter”) — the Communist Party has long censored photos and discussions of the bloody protest, and its efforts have ramped up ahead of the 30th anniversary of the event on June 4th.

Reuters reports that people who tried posting messages with the word ‘Leica’ received “warnings that they were violating laws, regulations or the Weibo community guidelines.”

China is one of Leica’s biggest growth markets in the world, so Leica is understandably now trying to distance itself from the ad — despite what the ad agency originally stated, a Leica spokesperson is now telling the media that the video wasn’t an official Leica film.

“[A] spokeswoman for Leica said that the ad, which ends with the Leica logo, was not an officially sanctioned marketing film commissioned by the company,” the South China Morning Post reports. “‘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,’ said [Leica spokeswoman] Emily Anderson […]”

Leica is reportedly working to prevent the film from being shared on its branded social media channels, but the video above is a new copy posted by Leica Brazil. If that copy is taken down, here’s another unofficial copy uploaded to YouTube by an (apparently) angry Chinese citizen.

Source of the article – PetaPixel