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Chinese nationalists call for boycott of latest Matrix film over Keanu Reeves in Dalai Lama-associated concert

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(TibetanReview.net, Jan25’22) – Chinese internet users, including, no doubt, members of the “50 Cent Army” of government-paid online commentators, have called for a boycott of The Matrix Resurrections, the latest installment of The Matrix franchise because its lead actor Keanu Reeves had confirmed his participation in a New York benefit concert associated with the Dalai Lama.

China calls the Dalai Lama a separatist leader, although he only seeks autonomy as provided by China’s constitution for his otherwise historically independent homeland. It continues to ignore the exile Tibetan spiritual leader’s call for negotiation on this issue while carrying out a renewed Sinicization drive that envisages cultural assimilation of the Tibetan people.

The controversy unfolded on Jan 21 — about a week after the movie hit Chinese theaters — when news emerged that Reeves would be among performers at the 2022 Tibet House US Benefit Concert, which is scheduled to take place virtually on Mar 3, noted the supchina.com Jan 21.

The concert is organized annually by Tibet House US (THUS), a New York-based nonprofit organization founded at the request of the Dalai Lama in 1987. It is a cultural centre whose aim is to work towards ensuring the survival of Tibetan civilization and culture.

THUS says on its website that it started the annual event as a way to observe Tibet’s historical Monlam Prayer Festival, which lasts from the fourth to the eleventh day of the first month in the Tibetan calendar, and which “has been prohibited by the Chinese Communists since 1959.”

THUS started the fundraising concert in 1993. It has featured a star-studded list of artists that included David Bowie and Iggy Pop. The Dalai Lama’s personal video message was played at the beginning of last year’s concert.

In addition to Reeves, the lineup for the show’s 35th iteration this year includes Patti Smith, Laurie Anderson, and others, selected by curator and artistic director Philip Glass.

Reeves had previously portrayed Prince Siddhartha, the Buddha before his enlightenment. The film is apolitical and the Dalai Lama attended its premiere at Paris.

The report said the growing outrage against Reeves on Chinese social media might further hurt the box office performance of The Matrix Resurrections, which already bombed in China on its opening weekend, making only with a $7.5 million. Online, some Matrix enthusiasts were cited as saying the “disappointing” news about Reeves made them want to pirate the movie instead of watching it in theaters.

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