Matrix star Keanu Reeves is facing backlash from Chinese netizens over his participation in an upcoming benefit concert for Tibet.
Calls for a boycott of The Matrix Resurrections have been getting louder after the 57-year-old was revealed to be in the line-up of the Tibet House US Benefit Concert on March 3.
The annual concert is held around the time of the Tibetan New Year and the Monlam Prayer Festival, which are touchy topics for the Chinese government due to their links to the Tibetan independence movement.
This year's concert will be a virtual event due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with other stars such as American singers Iggy Pop, Jason Isbell and Patti Smith.
Proceeds will go to the Tibet House US, a New York-based non-profit organisation founded at the request of the Dalai Lama to ensure the survival of Tibetan culture.
The Matrix Resurrections, which revives the hit film franchise that began with The Matrix (1999), opened in China in December.
One Weibo commenter wrote: "I used to be a fan of Reeves not only because he's a great actor, but also because he has Chinese heritage. But apparently we hold different views on Tibetan issues and it's a no-brainer for me to stop liking him because of that."
Reeves, who seldom courts controversy, had previously appeared in an acclaimed 1993 movie, Little Buddha, which follows a group of Tibetan monks seeking out the rebirth of their Buddhist teacher.
He played the role of Prince Siddhartha, the Buddha before his enlightenment. – The Straits Times/Asia News Network