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China faces heat over Tibet from Richard Gere

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Richard Gere
Mark Von Holden/WireImage

Richard Gere, an outspoken Buddhist, recently sat down for an interview about his faith. In the wake of a string of self-immolations by Tibetan monks last year, Gere has some harsh words for the Chinese government. NDTV reports that Gere called China “the largest hypocrisy in the world right now.” It was just the start of a long diatribe against the Communist country, its politicians, and policies.

Gere was more than candid in the interview, according to a transcript posted on the New Delhi TV website. “The Communist ideals that lead to the abuse of people is hypocrisy at the highest possible level. I would be embarrassed if I were a Chinese politician to say the things that they are forced to say, knowing that they are not true.” The actor, who hasn’t been to China since 1993 (when he’s said that he saw the  “deep and profound level of misery and sadness in Tibet”), characterized the country as “a very difficult place to live if you are a free thinker, if you are an artist, if you are a religious person.”

When asked about the future between China and its sovereign state of Tibet, Gere said he thinks Chinese politicians “have so wrongly gauged the Tibetan people, thinking they could subvert the deep, deep, deep religious beliefs and make them true Communists. It’s never going to happen.” He added, “No matter how many roads they build, or how many skyscrapers… it is not going to change.”

He speculated that China would be wisest to allow the Tibetans their freedom of religion, though admitted that is fundamentally against the country’s Communist tenets. At time of press, Gere was unavailable for comment, according to his publicist Alan Nierob.

What do you think, PopWatchers?

From EW’s archives:

Gregory Kirschling profiles Richard Gere

Can Hollywood Save Tibet?

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