At a recent rally to support whistleblower and former CIA employee Edward Snowden, one protest placard showed an image of the 30-year-old American, with the message "wellcome" [sic] next to it, alongside that of movie star Jackie Chan (with his front teeth blackened out) and the word "out". It was a spoof on whom they would rather have as this city's tourism ambassador.
But in the US, where Hong Kong politics is a faraway, little-known issue, Chan's views - such as limiting political demonstrations in the city - have not damaged his appeal.
Chan fans braved a rainstorm to queue in the stand-by line outside the Lincoln Centre in New York earlier this month in the hope of gaining entrance to "An Evening With Jackie Chan", a sold-out talk at the Walter Reade Theatre organised by the New York Asian Film Festival, which also featured a screening of his latest film, CZ12 - known in the US as Chinese Zodiac.
"I really like his character and think that inspiring people, like he does, is what art is all about," said New York-based Chan fan Artem Kulakov. "He is a very inspiring person. He is very funny and very cool." Chan received a standing ovation when he was given the NYAFF's Star Asia Lifetime Achievement Award.
Chan received the award, organisers say, because he was instrumental in bringing Hong Kong and Asian films to the notice of international viewers. The NYAFF, which doesn't officially start until June 28, brought the ceremony forward so that Chan, who flew to New York after attending business meetings in Los Angeles, could find time in his schedule to attend. This year's festival includes an extensive retrospective of his films.
Before the award ceremony, Chan attended a reception hosted by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in New York, the SAR government's official trade body, which co-organised the visit. Also in attendance was Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, who was visiting New York for the "Think Asia, Think Hong Kong" trade event.
Chan's association with the US, and US cinema, has been long and erratic. His first US film was 1980's The Big Brawl (aka Battle Creek Brawl), helmed by Enter The Dragon director Robert Clouse, which was followed by a small role in the Burt Reynolds caper The Cannonball Run.
US directors, who initially preferred the more realistic style of fighting essayed by Bruce Lee, had problems with his exaggerated, sometimes comical style. Consequently, Chan didn't achieve stardom in the US until 1995, when Stanley Tong Kwai-lai's Rumble in the Bronx opened in 1,500 cinemas across the country. But it was the Rush Hour series that cemented his popularity with American audiences.
According to a report in The Hollywood Reporter, Chan referred to the US as "the biggest corrupt country in the world" in an interview on the mainland earlier this year. That, evidently, did little to dent his image there.