The removal of his films might have a negative impact on the future of international actors and movies in China.
Several Keanu Reeves films, including the well-known “John Wick” series, have recently been removed from Chinese streaming services. Fans and industry professionals are concerned and speculating about the reasons behind the sudden decision to remove these movies.
Major Chinese sites, including Tencent Video, Youku, and iQiyi, withdrew Keanu Reeves’ movies from their collections on March 14, 2022. These movies included some of his biggest successes like “Speed,” “The Matrix” trilogy, and “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” totaling at least 19 movies, according to The Los Angeles Times.
It is yet unknown whether the platforms’ actions were motivated by a censorship order from the Chinese government or whether they were taken on their own initiative. With that, the exact cause of the removal remains unclear as of this writing.
Meanwhile, the actor’s support for Tibet or his involvement in a project involving the Dalai Lama has both been suggested as possible connections, among other possibilities. This is because Chinese social media users also didn’t take his stance lightly and reacted negatively to it.
China has previously taken similar steps against other artists who have supported sensitive political subjects, attacked the Chinese government, or showed support for Tibet; thus, this incident is not the first of its sort.
For instance, Lady Gaga has been prohibited from playing in China since 2016 because of her meeting with the Dalai Lama, who the Chinese government regards as a separatist. Another Hollywood actor, Richard Gere, who is well-known for his support of Tibet, reportedly had his movies banned in China.
These measures serve as a reminder of the possible consequences that artists may encounter when they express their thoughts on political issues as well as the influence that governments may have on the media and entertainment industries.
The removal of Reeves’ movies also brings attention to the problem of Chinese censorship. Content that is deemed politically sensitive or insulting to the country’s governing Communist Party is frequently censored by Chinese authorities.
Before being broadcast in the nation, foreign motion pictures and television programs must pass review and censorship. This has drawn criticism from free speech and human rights proponents who contend that China’s censorship system restricts freedom of expression and information access.
There have been conflicting reactions from the Chinese public to the news that Keanu Reeves movies have been banned in China. Others agree with the move since it is consistent with the nation’s position on Tibet, while some individuals have expressed displeasure that his videos were taken down for political reasons.
And while uncertainty surrounds whether the ban will be lifted, Reeves’ situation serves as a reminder of the difficulties international celebrities who want to express their political opinions while pursuing careers in China face.