Keanu Reeves recently participated in a Tibet-related concert organized by a non-profit founded by the Dalai Lama. As a result, Chinese streaming portals such as Tencent Video and iQiyi (IQ.O) have taken down films and video content starring the Canadian actor. Reeves’ representative could not be reached for comment right away.
According to Reuters, his celebrated works, including the Matrix and John Wick series, as well as Speed, have been removed. The outlet was unable to identify when the films were removed. At least 19 of his films have been removed from Tencent Video, according to the Los Angeles Times.
On WeChat, China’s ubiquitous messaging app, content relating to the Matrix movie and some of Reeves’ other work was still searchable, but searches for his English name and its Chinese counterpart gave no results. Requests for comment from iQiyi and Tencent Holdings, the parent company of Tencent Video and WeChat, were not immediately returned.
After it was revealed that Reeves planned to appear in a March 3 concert organized by Tibet House US, a New York-based nonprofit founded at the request of the Dalai Lama, Tibetan Buddhism’s spiritual leader, he received harsh criticism from Chinese social media users, with some calling for a boycott of his work in China. Due to constraints aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19, Reeves took part in the concert, which drew even more criticism online.
Beijing accused the Dalai Lama of fomenting separatism in Tibet, and instead recognizes the current Panchen Lama, who was appointed by the Communist Party, as Tibet’s highest religious figure. Former NBA player Enes Kanter, who played for the Boston Celtics at the time, is another high-profile Western celebrity who has been banned from Chinese social media and video platforms after making statements critical of China’s activities in Tibet.
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