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Chinese streaming platforms block Keanu Reeves after Tibet concert

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'The Matrix' actor Keanu Reeves (Photo/AP)

By Choekyi Lhamo

DHARAMSHALA, March 28: ‘The Matrix’ actor Keanu Reeves, in the wake of his support for Tibet earlier this month, has become a target of strict censorship in China where almost all his movies have been removed from major streaming sites. The Canadian actor’s participation at a Tibet House benefit event in the US has led to the removal of his films and video content on Tencent Video and iQiyi.

China’s major streamers removed the vast majority of his films from their sites and erased search results related to his name in Chinese (“Jinu Liweisi”). Deleted films include “The Matrix” trilogy, “Speed”, “The Lake House” among many others. “Sorry, no results related to ‘Keanu Reeves’ were found,” the platform iQiyi showcases, according to the LA Times report. Almost 19 films starring the actor were removed from Tencent streaming platform except the animation film “Toy Story 4”.

The 35th Tibet House Benefit Concert took place online for the second year and drew participants like singer Patti Smith and composer Philip Glass to honour Tibetan culture at the international event. This year, Reeves performed “Pull My Daisy”, a collaborative poem co-written by Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady over the 1940s at the virtual concert.

In January, days after Hollywood star Keanu Reeves was announced to be performing at the annual Benefit Concert, Chinese nationalists called for the boycott and censorship of his highly anticipated movie ‘The Matrix Resurrections’, the latest instalment in The Matrix series. In China, Reeves’ popularity was prevalent since the 90s due to his Chinese roots. “The Matrix Revolutions” of 2003 made history as the first foreign film in China to release at the same time with the West.

Keanu Reeves, one of the A-list Hollywood actors, joined the long list of Western celebrities who have been categorically distinguished and punished for their support of Tibet. Richard Gere, Selena Gomez, Lady Gaga and now former Boston Celtics’ player Enes Kanter, who is currently without contract with any NBA team, have been at the receiving end of constant Chinese censorship.

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