Hong Kong action hero Jackie Chan’s comments on America being the “most corrupt” country in the world have sparked huge reactions online.
SCMP.com readers took to their keyboards to post a record number of comments on the story, in which the controversial star told Phoenix TV: “When you talk about corruption - the whole world, is there corruption in the United States? The most corrupt in the world!”
Chan reaffirmed his view after the show’s host questioned him. “Of course! Where did the great breakdown come from? The world, the United States started it,” Chan said, referring to the financial crisis and gesticulating as he spoke.
SCMP.com's online poll, in which readers can still vote, attracted over 1,000 respondents.
“Sorry to read that Jackie feels that way. I think the American citizens should honour his feelings and boycott his movies from now on. He can get his corrupt money from China and see how far that gets his fading career. No more V8 for me either,” wrote albert.reichenbach.7.
MsCalibabe wrote: “Well I suggest that if Mr. Chan thinks that the USA is so corrupt then please do us and the rest of the film making community a favour and make your lousy films elsewhere. After all we wouldn’t want to expose him to corruption now would we.”
So far, the article has received more than 250 comments, some of them supporting Chan’s views on America.
“He may be right...look at the party in power, the Democrats Party, and how they run the country and step on the Constitution. Each week is a new scandal...maybe we need to look in the mirror as a nation,” said john.cr.146.
Mercedes 2233 wrote: “Whether or not you agree with him, Jackie Chan is entitled to free speech without public criticism. You are entitled to your views too, but you wouldn’t want people condemning you for those views. I happen to agree with him although I am not into his type of films - which are irrelevant to this issue.”
Chan’s comments, which were retweeted and shared thousands of times, were rebuked last week by Max Fisher, a foreign affairs blogger for the Washington Post, who called them “anti-American” rhetoric that was rooted in China’s insecurity.
“To the degree that Chan’s comments were anti-American, they likewise reflect a common Chinese view of the United States, one that is rooted not just in attitudes toward America but in China’s proud but sometimes insecure view of itself,” Fisher said.
Chan also said China is a relatively young country, where in the first half of its history it was “bullied by so many people”, and that it only achieved “real success” in the past decade.
“Our country’s leaders admit they are corrupted, etcetera. We are improving - I can see our country is constantly improving and learning,” he said, adding that everyone is making an issue out of China because it is “powerful” now.
Chan, who is known for his martial arts skills and daring stunt work, sparked criticism in Hong Kong, which was returned to China in 1997, after he reportedly told a Chinese magazine last December that protest in the city should be restricted.
In the same interview, he said that he was bullied by Hong Kong triads and had to hide in the United States. He also said he needed to carry a gun everyday to protect himself, leading to a police investigation.
He 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.”