Keanu Reeves films removed from Chinese streaming services over Tibet


Keanu Reeves Tibet China

Keanu Reeves is a vocal supporter of Tibet (Picture: Sam Santos/Getty Images for Warner Bros. Pictures Canada)

Keanu Reeves’ movies have reportedly been removed from Chinese streaming services including Tencent Video, Youku and Migu Video due to his support for Tibet.

In January this year, the Matrix and John Wick star, 57, was announced as a performer for the 35th annual Tibet House Benefit Concert alongside Laurie Anderson, Patti Smith, Cyndi Lauper and Iggy Pop. 

The benefit took place on March 3 for the New York-based non-profit, with the fundraiser being streamed virtually for the second year in a row.

Beijing has for years vehemently rejected any claims of Tibetan independence and views the Dalai Lama, who is affiliated with the group, as a dangerous ‘separatist’.

Chinese nationalists were said to be angered by Keanu’s support for the cause, and they stormed social media with insults aimed at the actor, as well as vows to boycott his latest release The Matrix: Resurrections.

On Monday, China’s major streaming sites reportedly removed all of Keanu’s biggest hits, leaving a blank when searchers typed his name in.


INDIA-RELIGION-BUDDHISM-DALAI LAMA

China views support for the Dalia Lama as dangerous (Picture: AFP via Getty Images)

On platform Tencent Video, at least 19 movies starring Keanu were taken down, with the only film by the actor still available being Toy Story 4, which he voiced, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Instead of content related to the actor, results simply said: ‘Due to relevant laws, regulations and policies, some results are not shown.’

Films that have been deleted include The Matrix trilogy, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, and romances including Something’s Got To Give and The Lake House.

Sites like Bilibili, iQiyi and Xigua Video also saw purges, the LA Times reported.

Speaking to the publication, Alex Xu, a researcher at China Digital Times, said: ‘It’s a curious case that’s worth following.


Keanu Reeves China Tibet

Keanu’s movies have been wiped (Picture: Jose Perez/Bauergriffin.com / MEGA)

‘We tend to think of the censorship machine in China as this really coordinated monster, but the fact that we’re seeing these conflicting signals [between the online and theatrical markets] suggests that some of these measures come from different places.’

The move is the latest in a slew of authoritarian crackdowns by the Chinese government over Western creations aired in China or Chinese-controlled territories.

In November, an episode of The Simpsons was edited to cut a reference to Tiananmen Square before it arrived on Disney Plus in Hong Kong.

Then, in January, the ending of the cult 1999 movie Fight Club was removed for viewers, and replaced by a screen saying that the authorities won.

The original ending saw Edward Norton’s narrator killing his imaginary alter-ego Tyler Durden, played by Brad Pitt, before bombs destroyed buildings in the climax to reorder society, which was dubbed ‘project mayhem’.

However, the new finale told viewers: ‘Through the clue provided by Tyler, the police rapidly figured out the whole plan and arrested all criminals, successfully preventing the bomb from exploding.

‘After the trial, Tyler was sent to lunatic asylum receiving psychological treatment. He was discharged from the hospital in 2012.’

The censorship sparked a huge backlash on social media, with high-profile figures such as artist Ai Wei Wei, US Republican senator Ted Cruz, and the Fight Club novel’s author Chuck Palahniuk all condemning the move.

Following the backlash, the streaming site Tencent restored the original version.

Metro.co.uk have contacted Keanu Reeves’ representatives for comment.

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