The World: Beijing - Chinese slam Fiat ad with Tibet-supporting actor, Friday, 27 June 2008 12:00AM

Fiat has apologised to the Chinese government for a TV commercial that features scenes of Tibet and the movie actor Richard Gere, an outspoken critic of China's crackdown on political freedoms in the country.

The commercial, for the Fiat-owned Lancia Delta model, provoked an angry response from China after its screening on primetime Italian TV during the European Football Championship.

Marcel, the Paris-based Publicis Groupe subsidiary, produced the film, which shows Gere driving a Delta from Hollywood to Lhasa's Potala palace, the former residence of Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

Apologising to the Chinese government and people, Fiat said it reiterated its "neutrality in connection with any political matter".

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