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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Fiat apologises to China after Gere ad promotes Tibetan independence

June 26, 2008

By Guy Adams in Los Angeles
The Independent (UK)
June 25, 2008

Fiat has been forced to apologise to China after employing Richard
Gere, the Hollywood star, Buddhist and campaigner for Tibetan
independence, to feature in its latest television ad.

In the 45-second Lancia Delta commercial, Gere drives one of the
vehicles from the centre of Hollywood to the Polata Palace, the
former Tibetan residence of the Dalai Lama, who fled into exile in
1959. He meets a child dressed as a Tibetan monk and the pair plunge
their hands in the Himalayan snow outside the palace. The camera then
cuts to the slogan: "The power to be different."

To see the "offending advertisement" link to
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTVn31L3e8g&eurl

The ad has enraged the Chinese, who say that it advocates Tibetan
independence. Some critics claimed that its slogan is a rallying cry
for political change.

Fiat, which is bidding to expand its operations into China, was
forced to release a public statement distancing itself from "Mr
Gere's social and political views".

The fashion house Dior recently ditched Sharon Stone as its face in
the Far East after the actress blamed the Sichuan earthquake on
divine retribution for China's policies in Tibet.

The incident underlines the growing importance of YouTube to the
global economy. The Lancia ad was only intended to be aired in
Europe, but reached a wider audience via the video-sharing website.
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