23 April 2012 by James Hayes
which are leveraging the attention around the event to publicise their respective agendas; but the extent to which Chinese showings at the event could also serve as counterpoints to criticisms of the country's ecological reputation should not be overlooked.
The presence of no less a personage than Chinese premier Wen Jiabao, who opened the event yesterday (Sunday) with German chancellor Angela Merkel, was a high-profile coup for Hannover Messe, to be sure, but one that also brought added impetus to his government's critics. This blogger wasn't present, but Yahoo News reports that a crowd of some 200 demonstrated outside during the ceremony.
At Kröpcke, the Stadtbahn station closest to the hotel where Wen Jiabao met with various civic dignitaries, Amnesty International has taken out a series of large advertisements on the Messe-bound platforms, highlighting 'Human rights made in China'. And as delegates and exhibitors in their thousands step-off the trains at Messe-Nord station they are greeted by at least two bannered protest groups camped outside the entrance distributing flyers.
At the same time it's worth noting that while the partnership with Hannover Messe 2012 is principally about generating commercial/cultural opportunities, it is also couched in the context of change: China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, for instance, has announced plans to increase R&D investment for 'enabling technologies for eco-friendly vehicles' geared toward a commitment toward the production of mass-market electric vehicles.
Of course anyone cognisant of declarations of environmental protection will be aware that promises and deliverables in this thorny area are prone to disparities the world over. But it's reasonable also to recognise also that Chinese exhibitors are not in Hannover without bona fide 'green' technology on their stands (no pejoratives meant by those inverted commas, BTW - no technology is ever 100 per cent environmentally clean).
Even legitimate criticisms of China's environmental record should not discount the possibility that the sustainable technologies being showcased at Hannover Messe are aiming to find solutions to the problems - both in the People's Republic and anywhere else in the world where sustainability abuse is evident. High-attendance and open events like Hannover Messe provide visitors an opportunity now to examine the technological claims at close quarters.
Posted By: James Hayes @ 23 April 2012 11:17 AM General
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