Gere criticizes China over abuse in Tibet

By the Associated Press | June 22, 2011 | 7:30 AM EDT

U.S. actor Richard Gere speaks to the media during a press conference for his photo exhibition in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, June 22, 2011. Gere is in Seoul promoting an exhibition of photographs of Tibet and India taken by the Hollywood actor and other photographers. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — American actor Richard Gere is taking a swipe at China for what he calls its widespread abuse of Tibetans.

Gere is in Seoul to promote a Tibet-themed exhibition of photos taken by him and other photographers. He's a practicing Buddhist and a longtime supporter of the Dalai Lama and Tibet.

Gere said Wednesday at the Seoul Arts Center that it's impossible to look at the photographs and not feel Tibet's suffering.

He said China's government is torturing and killing people in Tibet.

China maintains that Tibet has been part of its territory for centuries. But many Tibetans say the region was functionally independent for much of its history.

Gere's films include "Pretty Woman," ''Unfaithful" and "Chicago," for which he won a Golden Globe.