5 actors who are banned from China
China carefully decides which American movies make their way into Chinese mainstream media. While the Chinese Government is more open to American movies now, there are still a few Hollywood stars who have gotten on the government’s bad side.
1. Brad Pitt
Brad Pitt featured in the 1997 film Seven Years in Tibet as the 14th Dalai Lama’s tutor. Due to how the film portrayed the Chinese occupation of Tibet, officials took offense to the movie and decided they would bar the main people involved in the film from China. Pitt was banned from the country for 19 years and was only allowed back in 2016.
2. Richard Gere
During the 1993 Academy Awards, Richard Gere made an impromptu speech about the human rights abuses that China had inflicted on Tibet. Gere was presenting the award for best art direction but skipped the pre-arranged comments to highlight the issue in Tibet. The Academy Award producers were furious and vowed to ban Gere from any future awards shows. Chinese officials also banned him from the country. Many major studios won’t cast Gere anymore as they want Chinese distribution to increase their profit. Gere has now focused his career on appearing in independent films and has received great reviews for his performances.
3. Sharon Stone
In 2008, Sharon Stone commented on the Sichuan Earthquake at the Cannes Film Festival. Stone said she believed the disaster, which killed 90,000 people, was the result of a bad karma built up by the Chinese for oppressing the Dalai Lama. The Chinese government responded to her remarks by banning all her movies from China. It appears as if she didn’t receive an actual ban herself to enter but it’s most likely she wouldn’t be warmly welcomed.
4. Harrison Ford
Harrison Ford has been a long-time advocate for human rights and in 1992 he was involved in Tibetan issues. His wife at the time, Melissa Matheson, worked with Martin Scorsese on the script for film Kundun which focused on the story of the 14th Dalai Lama. Ford had the opportunity to meet the Dalai Lama and he became an advocate for Tibet. In 1995, Ford testified before the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee about the need for Tibetan independence and highlighted all of China’s human rights abuses. Ford and Matheson were banned from the country but he still continues to advocate for Tibet.
5. Miley Cyrus
The Disney star turned controversial popstar offended the Chinese government when she took a photo of herself imitating Asians by pulling back the skin around her eyes. The Organisation for Chinese Americans had strong words about the photo and the Chinese Foreign Minister said, “Miss Cyrus has made it clear she is no friend of China or anyone of East Asian descent. We have no interest in further polluting our children's minds with her American ignorance." Cyrus apologised and blamed the press for taking things out of context and attacking her and then later apologised again after her first one was criticised for not being genuine. The ban still remains in place.