Thursday, 13 December 2012

Jackie Chan's Bizarre Rant

The movie poster promoting Jackie Chan's latest film, CZ2012
Hong Kong people are outraged that action star Jackie Chan believes local people's right to demonstrate should be limited.

In an interview with Southern People Weekly that was published on Tuesday, Chan said: "Hong Kong has become a city of protest. The whole world used to say it was South Korea. It is now Hong Kong.

"People scold China's leaders or anything else they like, and protest against everything. The authorities should stipulate what issues people can protest over and on what issues it is not allowed."

This is the second time Chan has made controversial comments about restricting freedoms in his hometown.

The last time was in April 2009 when he was at the Boao Forum for Asia in Hainan, and said Chinese people needed to be controlled.

At the time he was asked about mainland controls on filmmaking and he replied: "I don't know whether it is better to have freedom or to have no freedom. With too much freedom, it can get very chaotic. It could end up like in Taiwan."

He also said he believed that "Chinese people need to be controlled, otherwise they will do whatever they want".

Chan later said his remarks were taken out of context and twisted.

The media couldn't reach him last night to clarify his comments this time.

And so many people complained about the Rush Hour star's statements.

Leung Man-to, a Hong Kong-based cultural critic who writes columns for mainland publications, said Chan's remarks were prejudiced and could lead to even greater misunderstanding between Hong Kong and the mainland.

"Chan doesn't bother to understand why some Hong Kong people choose to take to the streets. He just tends to think that whatever the government does is correct," Leung said.

Audrey Eu Yuet-mee, chairwoman of the Civic Party was shocked by what Chan said.

"I think it's a shame for the movie industry, because the freedom of expression is fundamental to his line of business," she said. "Just as the government cannot lay down rules on what movies can be made and what can't, he ought to appreciate that there should be no restrictions on which protests can be held and which cannot, as long as they comply with the law."

Meanwhile political scientist Dixon Sing Ming from the University of Science and Technology said, "It seems that Chan is almost detached from the daily lives of the people of Hong Kong."

And Dr Ma Ngok, a political scientist at Chinese University added Chan's remarks reflected his ignorance. "It is a simple fact that we have the freedom of expression, and it is already accepted as a baseline of a civilized society."

We think Chan is spending too much time on the mainland these days, and is perhaps currying favour with Hong Kong's masters. Maybe it's because he has a new film coming out called CZ12 or Armour of God III: Chinese Zodiac, in which he reprises his role as a treasure hunter called Asian Hawk who is trying to repatriate the 12 bronze animal heads of the Chinese zodiac that were stolen from the Old Summer Palace during the Second Opium War.

This storyline about the Chinese being wronged by foreign devils is perpetuated by Chan helping the Chinese government once again bring attention to the plight of the bronze heads and how they should be returned to the rightful owner.

We've already had the case of Cai Mingchao who had the winning bid at Christie's for Yves Saint Laurent and partner Pierre Berge's two animal heads, but Cai refused to pay up the $40 million out of political protest.

As a result the sale was botched and Berge kept the rabbit and rat heads.

So we wonder if Chan is trying to stir up controversy just before his movie comes out and hopes that leads to increased interest in the bronze heads.

Far-fetched perhaps, but when something strange comes out of Chan's mouth, anything's possible.

Once Hong Kong's darling Hollywood export, he will probably become the city's black sheep.

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