At a press conference on Saturday at the Czech Republic’s Karlovy Vary Film Festival, Richard Gere, clearly the most eminently qualified man to talk about the subject, predicted that there would be an uprising in Tibet.
The actor, who received the festival’s Crystal Globe for outstanding contribution to world cinema on Friday, made the comments while answering a question regarding Chinese control of Tibet, according to Variety.
Gere, who starred in the 90s blockbuster Pretty Woman and was twice named People magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive,” said that he was a follower of the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader who last weekend made an appearance at the Glastonbury music festival in England despite Chinese protests.
In response to an assertion that he was not welcome in China, Gere replied “I am welcomed by the Chinese people, but not by the Chinese government. I haven’t been able to (visit China) since 1993. But you guys can understand that. The Czech Republic understands Communism very well.”
When asked what would happen following the death of the Dalai Lama, who marks his 80th birthday tomorrow, Gere referred to an episode in Tibetan history when the Panchen Lama, the second-highest Tibetan Lama, died under mysterious circumstances and was replaced by the Chinese government.
“There is a fear that the Chinese will try to co-opt the next incarnation of the Dalai Lama. In fact the Chinese Communist Party has said that it is only up to the Chinese to decide who the Dalai Lama will incarnate as,” he said. “So there is a drama going on now about who will decide who is the next Dalai Lama.”
In April, the Tibetan government-in-exile accursed China of abducting the 11th Panchen Lama, appointed prior to the candidate selected by Beijing, while he was a boy and of holding him as a political prisoner.
By Dominic Jackson