GolinHarris isn’t going to pencil in the Dalai Lama on the invitation list for the grand opening of the Legation Quarter pleasure palace in Beijing that is slated prior to the kick-off of the Summer Olympic Games.
The Dalai Lama used the LQ, which is just off Tiananmen Square, as his Beijing residence from 1951 to 1959 until China’s crackdown on Tibet forced that country’s spiritual leader to flee to India.
It’s great irony that the redevelopment of LQ into an “upscale venue for dining, arts and entertainment” comes as tensions rise once again over China’s iron-grip rule of Tibet.
GH, according to its release, is to “carry out comprehensive brand building ahead of LQ’s pre-Olympic grand opening in Q2 2008.”
The compound, in which Chinese were once banned by foreigners following the Boxer Rebellion, promises to satisfy the “world-class tastes of China’s growing affluent community in Beijing.” On tap are swanky French, Japanese, Italian, Spanish and Chinese restaurants, a Patek Phillip store, a member’s club and nightclub.
The Interpublic unit vows to make the LQ “Beijing’s not-to-be-missed destination” (unless, of course, you are the Dalia Lama). One can bet His Holiness would forgive the snub in return for an invitation to Lhasa, Tibet’s capital.
GH expects its publicity bandwagon will be in high gear before the Olympic Games begin in August. That’s a good move because media coverage in Tiananmen Square will be sparse once the fun and games begin. China has banned the world’s media from Tiananmen Square for the duration of Games.
The last thing China wants is worldwide coverage of Darfur or Tibet activists acting up in the middle of Tiananmen Square, the heart of Beijing.
The image of the lone student facing a column of tanks in Tiananmen Square during the bloody crackdown of 1989 was bad PR enough for the Chinese Government.
The country’s reputation would be destroyed if a repeat performance of that bloody crackdown occurred while China played host to the world’s athletes.