Jackie Chan. Actor in a long list of humdrum movies. ‘Ambassador’ for a dozen lame government campaigns (plus some on the Mainland, as pictured here). Supposed cause of suicides among female fans after announcement of marriage. Cheater on wife, subsequently. And noted political philosopher, opining again on the rottenness that is Hong Kong and its spoilt, libertine people…
It is the second time in three years that the kung fu star has made controversial remarks about restricting freedoms in the city where he was born.
In an interview with Southern People Weekly – part of Guangzhou-based Nanfang Media – published on Tuesday, Chan said: “Hong Kong has become a city of protest…
“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.”
In April 2009, Chan came under fire at the Boao Forum for Asia in Hainan for saying … that he was starting to think “Chinese people need to be controlled, otherwise they will do whatever they want”.
Like embarrassing themselves by talking rubbish in Southern People Weekly. That’s a sort of People magazine, known for interviewing Burmese former President-elect-turned-prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi earlier this year – and not exactly world famous for that. At least it’s a step up from the Boao Forum, which is a gathering by and for Asia’s most uncool losers-cum-‘leaders’ who don’t get invited to rub shoulders with the titans at Davos.
Southern People Weekly also attracted attention earlier this year for a cover story about China’s 1958-62 famine – an event that officially didn’t happen. (Some 30-40 million people starved to death so Mao Zedong could send food to places like East Germany to prove the superiority of his form of Communism. And he ends up on Yuan banknotes.) Balancing such adventurous content with ideologically correct material presumably keeps the publication out of trouble, assuming we think that reporting Hongkongers’ eagerly exercised right to scold China’s leaders counts as ideologically correct.
Jackie Chan is perhaps doing something similar. By spouting the stuff Mainland officials like to hear, he no doubt hopes to keep his silly movies on Mainland screens. (I assume they’re silly; I’ve never knowingly seen one – give me Aces Go Places any day.) So he’s just acting. Maybe beneath the thespian mask he has a deep concern for and commitment to civil liberties.
What protests would I ban if I ruled the world? The ones where Greenpeace dress in protective suits and come out of supermarkets holding a pack of GM cookies in tongs, for anti-scientific scaremongering. Any more than one huge, mass-pan-democrats march with no specific cause in one month, to spare red faces from low turnout. Society for Truth and Light prayer gatherings asking for God to stop public lesbian breast-feeding, or whatever the latest thing is – though, then again, maybe not, as they’re quite funny. Pet owners campaigning for dogs’ right to access parks, therein to defecate and scare little children. Time to reach for the pepper spray.
Chan’s comments echo an old Cold War-era joke. An American says to a Soviet: in the USA, we are so free we can stand in the street and shout ‘the President of America is an idiot’.” The Soviet replies: “Same in the USSR – we are so free we can stand in the street and shout ‘the President of America is an idiot’.”
Hey – it’s funnier than anything by Jackie Chan (probably).