May 29, 2008
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Dior deplores model linking quake to China's Tibet policy

May 29, 2008

BEIJING, May 29, 2008 (AFP) - French luxury goods giant Christian Dior has expressed "deep regret" after one of its top models, US actress Sharon Stone, said China's recent devastating earthquake was linked to its policy on Tibet.

Sharon Stone - Photo : AFP

Stone, 50, set off a storm of criticism for suggesting the quake, which has killed nearly 70,000, was the result of bad "karma" over China's treatment of Tibetans.

Stone made the remarks at the Cannes Film Festival last week, leading to pledges by some Chinese cinemas not to show her films.

"I'm not happy about the way the Chinese are treating the Tibetans because I don't think anyone should be unkind to anyone else," Stone said, according to footage widely available on YouTube.

"And then all 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?"

Tibet was rocked by unrest in March, and, according to the Dalai Lama's aides, some 203 Tibetans were killed and 1,000 injured in China's subsequent crackdown in the region.

China says Tibetan "rioters" and "insurgents" killed 21 people, and has accused the Dalai Lama of trying to sabotage the Beijing Olympics -- a charge the Tibetan spiritual leader denies.

International criticism of Beijing over the events in Tibet has been muted since the massive earthquake struck Sichuan province on May 12.

Stone's image has been removed from several Dior outlets at department stores in Beijing, according to reports in the state media.

"We don't agree with her hasty, unreflecting remarks and we deeply regret them," Dior said in a Chinese-language statement.

"Dior was one of the first international brands to enter China and has won the affection and respect of the consuming public. We absolutely do not support any remark that hurts the Chinese people's feelings.

"We express our sorrow over the compatriots who lost their lives in the earthquake in Wenchuan, Sichuan, and we extend our sympathy and condolences to the people in the disaster area," Dior said.

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