Hong Kong action star Jackie Chan courted controversy again this week during a promotion tour in America, where the actor said he sometimes wished that countries would experience natural disasters more often.
The comments were made during a California interview where Chan was promoting the upcoming American release of his newest film, Chinese Zodiac, also known as CZ12.
When asked by a reporter about United States and China bilateral relations, Chan said that both superpowers needed to work together more, and added that people from nations all around the world generally needed to co-operate more as well. The actor then proceeded to speak his mind frankly.
“I should not say that,” Chan said. “Sometimes I really like to see some countries have a disaster coming, or either big tsunami, or either big earthquake.
“After the big disaster coming, you see the whole world, everybody fly in to help the country, I’m so happy. No tsunami, no earthquakes, everybody nothing to do, then politics come in. You fight me, I fight you, I don’t like to see those kinds of things.” [sic]
While Chan likely only meant that disasters can be helpful in helping nations to overcome political differences, his comments were immediately picked up and blasted as “insensitive” and a “slip of the tongue” by various media outlets, including Taiwan’s TVBS news network and Hong Kong’s Apple Daily.
This is not the first time Chan has made headlines for awkward comments. In 2009, Chan drew rampant criticism for a remark he made on Hong Kong’s relative freedom in the years after the handover.
“In the 10 years after Hong Kong’s return to Chinese rule… I’m not sure if it’s good to have freedom or not,” Chan reportedly said. “If you’re too free, you’re like the way Hong Kong is now. It’s very chaotic. Taiwan is also very chaotic… I’m gradually beginning to feel that we Chinese need to be controlled. If we’re not being controlled, we’ll just do what we want.”
Chan has also criticised Hong Kong as “a city of protest,” and most recently in January of this year, the actor called the United States “the most corrupt country” in the world.
The action star’s latest work, Chinese Zodiac, was released in Hong Kong in December 2012 to mixed reviews. The Post’s review praised some of the film’s action scenes, but also said the movie “lumbers like a cheap DVD knock-off of one of [Chan]’s old classics.”