Searching for ‘Keanu Reeves’ in China yields no results, and all his movies have disappeared.
(Photo: Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images)
It’s no longer possible to watch any content starring Keanu Reeves in China, and searching for his name returns no results from search engines.
As Reuters reports, the Chinese authorities have seemingly wiped the actor’s existence from servers across the country. It’s thought to be a response to Reeves deciding to virtually attend a concert on March 3 organized by Tibet House US. The nonprofit was created at the request of the Dalai Lama with the aim of preserving Tibet’s ancient traditions of philosophy, mind science, art, and culture.
Clearly the Chinese government doesn’t take kindly to such an organization or anyone who chooses to associate with it. And with the internet being so restricted and controlled there, it’s relatively simple for those in power to digitally disappear someone.
So far, Tencent and iQiyi have removed at least 19 of the actor’s movies from their streaming platforms, and performing a search for either his English name or its Chinese translation will return zero results from search engines, apparently. Searching for his movies on WeChat is still possible, but I suspect those results may also be in the process of disappearing.
While Reeves himself may not be too concerned about his persona disappearing from an entire country, movie studios won’t fail to notice. China has a population of over 1.4 billion people and counts as an important market for entertainment. Keanu Reeves starring in a big-budget film or TV show now counts as a significant risk, unless of course he can smooth over the rift somehow and make everyone in China aware of his existence again.