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<-Back to WTN Archives China bashes Hollywood over Tibet movie
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World Tibet Network News

Thursday, January 22, 1998

1. China bashes Hollywood over Tibet movie

BEIJING, Jan 21 (Reuters) - China on Wednesday fired a propaganda
broadside at a popular U.S. movie about Tibet, blasting Hollywood
for glorifying a Nazi "thug" and opposing the human spirit.

The attack by the official Xinhua news agency on the movie "Seven
Years in Tibet" came in the form of an eight-part article detailing
the Nazi ties of protagonist Heinrich Harrer, played by Brad Pitt
in the film.

The film is about Harrer's 1940s exploits in the Himalayan region,
where he met and became tutor to the young Dalai Lama, Tibet's
spiritual leader.

The film shows Harrer's journey from an egotistical and selfish
adventurer to a more enlightened individual.

Last-minute changes were made to the film to reflect Harrer's
involvement with the Nazis after German media revealed he had been
a member of Hitler's party and was a sports trainer with its elite
SS unit.

Xinhua derided the film's makers for twisting the truth about
Harrer's past.

"Hollywood has transformed Harrer, a man who rose from his position
as an ordinary mountaineer to become a favourite of Nazi leaders,
from nothing more than a notorious Nazi thug into a 'hero'," Xinhua

"Harrer is a political con man living on fabricated mistruths," it

The movie amounted to blasphemy of art and was opposed to the human
spirit, said Xinhua.

The commentary appeared to be China's latest attempt to discredit
the Dalai Lama, whom Beijing accuses of stirring up anti-Chinese
violence in Tibet and trying to split the region from China.

It was unclear why the unusually long attack appeared more than
five months after the movie's debut.

Chinese communist armies marched into Tibet in 1950. The Dalai Lama
fled into exile nine years later after an abortive uprising against
Beijing's rule.

The Dalai Lama won the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize for his non-violent
campaign for greater Tibetan autonomy, and he insists he is not
seeking independence for his homeland.

Beijing is extremely sensitive to accusations that it is wiping out
Tibetan culture and has denounced several recent Hollywood
productions about the region.

Articles in this Issue:
  1. China bashes Hollywood over Tibet movie

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