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  • Dec 18, 2014
  • Updated: 2:23pm
Jackie Chan
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CIVIL LIBERTIES

Jackie Chan criticises Hong Kong as 'city of protest'

Anger after movie star tells mainland newspaper his hometown has become ‘like South Korea’ and that it should limit the right to protest

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 13 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 13 December, 2012, 2:44pm

Action star Jackie Chan is under fire again for suggesting that Hongkongers' right to demonstrate should be limited.

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. 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.

When Jackie Chan made this documentary on Hong Kong earlier this year, the city was his 'true love'. Watch the video

"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 Chinese people needed to be controlled.

Answering questions about mainland controls on filmmaking, Chan said at the time: "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 that he was starting to think "Chinese people need to be controlled, otherwise they will do whatever they want".

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

The Rush Hour star could not be reached for comment last night.

Leung Man-tao, a Hong Kong-based cultural critic who writes columns for mainland publications, said Chan's remarks were prejudiced and would deepen a misunderstanding about Hong Kong society among some mainlanders.

"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.

Chairwoman of the Civic Party Audrey Eu Yuet-mee said she was shocked by Chan's comments.

"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."

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."

Dr Ma Ngok, a political scientist at Chinese University, said the remarks reflected Chan's ignorance.

"It is a simple fact that we have the freedom of expression, and it is already accepted as a baseline of a civilised society."

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This article is now closed to comments

m2leung
The radical thinks they are fighting for the rule-of-law and democracy. Yet, they will paint anybody who thinks differently as a puppet of the CPC. It is a shame that they don't realize their actions such as filibustering in Legco is anti-democratic, and their insistence that people should not have a choice of learning about national education is an infringement of people's choice and liberty.
markshaw
Most other country's musicians and actors tend to take up various social issues and use their fame to publicise the cause. In HK it's hard to find one single "artist" who stands up for any such cause that is not promoted by the government. It's pretty pathetic.
pangkf
Forgive him! His boss is China now. He is trying to please his boss. So sad!
maryting
Did he think twice before he say something. Did he really understand why people are going out to protest. Did he really know what is happening in HK?
SeoKungFu
Jackie Chan to the people : "Don't dare protest or I'll serve your butts a side kick!".
Brace yourself, Jackie, I'm coming to your city !
whymak
So what are these 流口水博士 academics, politicos struggling to be scientists, and other bananas quoted here trying to tell us? Jackie Chan's action movies are a bigger fraud than political science and mindless demonstrators?
Am I glad I don't have anything to do with educatertainment. Yes,while mindless chants of slogans are not very musical, the "march of lobotomized zombies" with a good sound track qualifies as entertainment.
amenka
I AM SORRY JACKIE, I LOST ALL THE RESPECT I HAD FOR YOU!!!!!! CLEARLY YOU DONT UNDERSTAND THE PLIGHT OF HONG KONG PEOPLE!
hard times !
Does this kung-fu star deserve any respect from most Hongkongers who are furious over his remark that we Hongkongers scold China's leaders( who are not allowed to be criticized on Mainland) or anything we like and protest against anything.He suggested the authorities should stipulate what issues are open to protests and what are not.How about the June 4th candle vigil ? The annual July 1st grand march ? The up-coming march against C.Y.Leung's broken integrity on January 1st ? Are these three considered not appropriate in Sing Lung's eyes ? Living too long in Beijing----the capital of an autocratic country might make one's mind closed to the outside world.Unfortunately, this happens on Sing Lung's himself ! He better shuts up and concentrate on his career by producing more quality movies only.Politics is never his expertise or his dish !
acgenerator
While I strongly disagree with Chan's assertion that protests (freedom of speech) should be limited, he hints at an underlying issue that the residents of Hong Kong are unusually inclined to protest compared to other parts of the China or the region as a whole.
I spent 3-4 months in Hong Kong for work in early 2010. The numbers of small protests reminded me of travels to western Europe rather than east Asia. I remember distinctly large protests over eminent domain issues which the locals themed their protests around the hugely popular Avatar movie that was in theaters at the same time.
Perhaps this is a legacy of British occupation or the large number of expats (and their values) that reside in the SAR. Hong Kong is largely shaped by it's meshing of east and west cultures.
A Hong Konger
I remember his appalling "Chinese need to be controlled" statement a few years ago. No matter how out of context that was taken it was inexcusable to say. Now that has-been clown has said something even more stupid that the dialogue of his awful movies (sorry, but they stopped being entertaining when we turned 12). It's a real shame, he was one of us that the world recognised. He could be vocalising our plight of Hong Kong and the plight of the working class. Instead he denigrates and embarrasses us Hong Kongers and not to mention our neighbours; the Chinese, that he insults by saying they need to be controlled, as he obviously feels they are not being as obedient as he... Of course he's quick to protest when the paparazzi takes a few pics of some undressed 'starlet', or someone makes a knock off of his rubbish movies (you couldn't pay me to watch them)... What a little man he is... What a shame for us.
Chow Yun-Fat, where are you?!

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