Sharon Stone Talks Karma, China Quake

05/27/2008 AT 08:30 AM EDT


Red carpet questions are usually limited to "What are you wearing?" or "Who are you dating?" But when Sharon Stone was unexpectedly asked about the recent earthquake in China – which claimed the lives of 80,000 people – the actress walked right into a political minefield.

"At first, I'm not happy with the way the Chinese are treating the Tibetans ...," she said on camera Thursday at the Cannes Film Festival, referring to the country's alleged human rights violations. "And then all this earthquake and stuff happened and I thought, 'Is that Karma, when you're not nice that the bad things happen to you?' "

The 50-year-old actress – who has a long history of political activism and is friends with Tibet's exiled leader, the Dalai Lama – added that she'd recently gotten a letter from a Tibetan organization planning to do disaster relief work in China.

It made Stone realize, "sometimes you have to learn to put your head down and be of service even to people who are not nice to you," she explained. "That's a big lesson for me."

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