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Hollywood's Elite Protest China's Move to Block Film

December 12, 1996

A group of 41 film stars and directors--including Barbra Streisand, Paul Newman, Richard Gere and directors Sidney Pollack and Oliver Stone--released a public letter condemning China's recent efforts to hinder the release of an upcoming Martin Scorsese film about Tibet's Dalai Lama.

Chinese officials recently expressed their displeasure that Walt Disney Co. is releasing the film about Tibet's exiled leader, who won a Nobel Peace Prize for drawing attention to China's occupation of his homeland.

Although Disney has said it would honor its agreement to distribute the film, many in Hollywood fear that China's actions will cast a chill over other projects China may disapprove of, because Hollywood executives are so eager to tap China's market.

The letter, released through the group Human Rights Watch, cites other examples in which China has tried to stifle films, including forcing significant cuts in the film "Farewell My Concubine" and the banning of five films by Chinese censors earlier this year.

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