Keanu Reeves faces backlash from Chinese nationalists over Tibet benefit concert

Keanu Reeves has come under fire from Chinese nationalists after it emerged that he will take part in a forthcoming benefit concert for Tibet.

Some Chinese citizens are calling for a boycott of Reeves’ new film The Matrix Resurrections – the latest instalment in the Matrix series – after he appeared to lend support to a movement that campaigns for the protection of Tibetan culture.

It was announced this week that Reeves will be one of the main performers at the 35th annual Tibet House US Benefit Concert on 3 March, along with artists including Patti Smith, Trey Anastasio, and Jason Isbellm.

The annual concert, which will be livestreamed from New York, is timed to mark both the Tibetan New Year and the Monlam Prayer Festival.

The event is also a fundraiser to support the work of Tibet House US, a charity and cultural embassy founded at the request of the Dalai Lama, who has been living in exile since 1959, following China’s annexation of Tibet in 1950.

Some users of the microblogging site Weibo announced they would boycott the movie over Reeves’ support for the Tibetan cause.

"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,” one user said.

The actor has not yet confirmed if he will be taking part in the event, but his name features on the list of performing artists on the Tibet House’s website. A spokesperson for Reeves did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The calls to boycott the film in China come after The Matrix Resurrections performed underwhelmingly in that country with a $7.5m ( £5.5m) opening weekend. The film has so far grossed an estimated $148.3m (£109m) worldwide, against a production budget reported to be around $190m.