Richard Gere pays homage to Dalai Lama at Czech Film Festival

Source: Phayul / By Tenzin Dharpo /

Dharamsala, July 5: Hollywood actor Richard Gere, popular around the world for his devotion to the Dalai Lama and support for Tibet, has on Friday said that the year 2015 marked the 80th birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama while expressing his appreciation for former Czech President Vaclav Havel for his blatant approach in the face of China’s outcry in keeping a courteous rapport with the Dalai Lama.

The actor known for his work in ‘the Officer and a Gentle man,’ ‘Pretty woman,’ and Chicago was speaking after receiving the prestigious Crystal Globe ‘Life time achievement award’ for his outstanding contribution to world cinema at the 50th anniversary of the Karlovy Vary international film festival in Czech Republic.

“One of the extraordinary things is — in a world that is almost totally controlled by the Chinese communist government right now — Vaclav Havel invited his Holiness to come here, be photographed with him, spend time with him, loved him, embraced him, and he was one of the very few people, and it was certainly one of the very few countries,” said Gere in his acceptance speech.

“So I’m going to thank him, but I want to thank all of you for honoring and having such an extraordinary president, who continually did things like that. And hopefully the Czech Republic, the great Czech Republic, will continue to do these extraordinary, wonderful things,” Gere was quoted by the US edition of Variety.

The festival opened with Gere starter ‘Time Out of Mind’ on July 3 and the jubilations are expected to go on till the 11th of the month when the event is scheduled to close with hoards of backpackers and members of the film fraternity gathered in the spa town of Karlovy Vary.

Gere was banned as an Academy Award presenter in 1993 following his mention of Tibet issue and China’s human rights violations. “I was really struck by this idea that there were one billion people watching this thing. It’s astonishing—one billion people watching. And I was curious about what countries this was actually going to. And it is in fact being seen in China right now. And the first thought that came to me was, I wondered if Deng Xiaoping is actually watching this right now, with his children and his grandchildren, and with the knowledge that—that—that—what a horrendous, horrendous humanrights situation there is in China, not only towards their own people but to Tibet as well,” Gere said.