Hamburg - Volkswagen, the first
foreign automaker to enter the Chinese market and a sponsor of
the 2008 Beijing games, urged China's government on Thursday to
embrace the spirit of the Olympic Games.
"The Olympics offer China and its people a unique
opportunity not only to continue their economic development, but
above all to further open up their society," Chief Executive
Martin Winterkorn told shareholders at the VW annual meeting.
"We hope and firmly believe that our Chinese partners will
seize this unique opportunity."
The CEO said Volkswagen had stressed this in talks with
those responsible in China.
The second-largest carmaker in China behind U.S. rival
General Motors, Volkswagen decided in June 2004 to become a
partner of the Beijing games and went so far as to dub the
restructuring of its two Chinese joint ventures the "Olympic
The Games have turned into a public relations disaster for
China after violent crackdowns in Tibet provoked protests in the
West and forced runners bearing the Olympic torch around the
world to be protected by security forces.