A decision by Canadian actor Keanu Reeves to attend a benefit concert for Tibet has sparked an angry response from nationalists in China.
Keanu Reeves is facing backlash in China over his participation in an upcoming benefit concert for Tibet.
The Matrix and John Wick star will join artists like Patti Smith, Jason Isbell and Iggy Pop at the Tibet House US Benefit Concert on March 3.
It is unknown how Reeves will participate.
News of the move prompted fury in China.
Lana Wachowski's new release The Matrix: Resurrections slumped at the box office in China, reportedly because of a boycott announced by Chinese nationalists.
Singapore newspaper The Straits Times reported the annual concert is held around the time of the Tibetan New Year. Beijing is wary of any events that have links to the Tibetan independence movement.
The decision by the Canadian to attend the event was criticised by social media users in China.
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."
Tibet is an autonomous region of China. The area was annexed by Beijing in the 1950s following the Battle of Chamdo.
The Seventeen Point Agreement, which was negotiated by the Dalai Lama, has since been repudiated and the Dalai Lama is exiled in India.
Tibet's independence movement has been a cause célèbre attracting the attention of celebrities and politicians.
It's also a touchy issue for Beijing. There are also separatist movements in Xinjiang (East Turkestan), Mongolia and Hong Kong.
China also claims sovereignty over Taiwan, although it is governed by the Republic of China.
The concert has been held annually since 1989 and will be held virtually this year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Proceeds from the event will go to the Tibet House US, reportedly to promote Tibetan culture.
The concert also marks the start of the Monlam Prayer Festival, a two-week festival formerly held in Lhasa. It has been prohibited by the Chinese Communist Party for the past 60 years.