supchina.com – 21 January 2022
Calls to boycott The Matrix Resurrections, the latest installment of The Matrix franchise, have sprung up on Chinese social media after lead actor Keanu Reeves confirmed his participation in a benefit concert associated with the Dalai Lama. The Tibetan spiritual leader is considered a dangerous separatist by the Chinese government.
The controversy unfolded on Friday — 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 March 3.
Held annually in celebration of the Tibetan New Year, the show is organized by Tibet House US (THUS), a New York-based nonprofit organization founded at the request of the Dalai Lama in 1987 to preserve Tibetan culture. On its official website, the event is introduced by THUS as its way to observe the 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.”
To “honor this tradition” that’s important to “the world wide Tibetan exile community,” THUS created the fundraising concert in 1993. Throughout its history, the event has featured a star-studded list of artists including David Bowie and Iggy Pop, as well as support from well-known activists including Dalai Lama, whose 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 also includes Patti Smith, Laurie Anderson, and others, selected by curator and artistic director Philip Glass.