Outrage in China after Stone says earthquake may be due to 'bad karma'

Sharon Stone is facing an escalating consumer boycott from cinema-goers in China, one of Hollywood's most important export markets, after saying the earthquake that has killed at least 70,000 people could be caused by "bad karma."

In an outburst that may prove more provocative than even the infamous leg-crossing scene in Basic Instinct, the 50-year-old actress told reporters that this month's natural disaster, which made millions homeless, may be the result of the Chinese government's policy on Tibet.

Amid growing fury over the comments, which were made on the red carpet at Cannes last week but have since reached a worldwide audience on YouTube, the founder of one of China's biggest cinema chains said yesterday that his company would no longer show her films in its theatres.

Ng See-Yuen, founder of the cinema chain UWE and chairman of the Federation of Hong Kong Filmmakers, described Stone's remarks as "inappropriate" and said actors should not bring personal politics to bear on a humanitarian crisis.

The Chinese PR company for Christian Dior, with whom Ms Stone has a lucrative modelling contract, has distanced itself from her comments, while yesterday's Beijing Times reported that department stores have removed advertising bearing her image.

At the heart of the row is an interview Stone gave to a TV reporter. "I am not happy about the way the Chinese are treating the Tibetans," she said, when asked about her Buddhist faith. "Then I have been concerned about 'how shall we deal with the Olympics?' because they are not being nice to the Dalai Lama, who is a good friend of mine. And then this earthquake and all this stuff happened and I thought, 'Is that karma, when you're not nice that the bad things happen to you?'"

Although representatives for Stone, 50, were not returning calls yesterday, supporters pointed out that later in the interview, the actress conceded that her hardline attitude had softened after she received a letter from The Tibetan Foundation asking her to go and help quake victims.

Stone's remarks have provoked widespread outrage on the internet, with Chinese citizens posting web responses to Stone. Although actors making colourful remarks on the red carpet is nothing new in Hollywood, industry experts say Stone's comments may prove to be particularly ill-judged, given that she currently has at least four films in production. "To speak plain English, you don't want to piss off several billion people," said Steven Gaydos, executive editor of the Hollywood newspaper Variety.

Back in China, meanwhile, the challenges keep on coming for the thousands of soldiers and other relief workers trying to help the five million people displaced by the 7.9-magnitude quake.

So acute is the problem that China has even asked the Japanese army for help, the first time Japanese soldiers have been deployed in China since the Second World War.

Yesterday, relief workers evacuated 150,000 people living near the perilous Tangjiashan "quake lake" because of fears the reservoir could burst its banks.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea