Jackie Chan told an audience Chinese people needed to be ‘controlled’ Photo: AP
Jackie Chan has triggered controversy by claiming Chinese people are so chaotic they need to be firmly controlled by the government. Mr Chan is a favourite of the authorities in Beijing.
By Malcolm Moore in Shanghai
The actor told a forum on the southern Chinese island of Hainan, whose attendees included Wen Jiabao, the Chinese prime minister, he was not sure “freedom” was necessary.
Chan, 55, whose latest movie, Shinjuku incident, was banned in China, was asked about censorship and restriction on the mainland. He expanded his comments to discuss Chinese society in general.
“I’m not sure if it is good to have freedom or not,” he said. “I’m really confused now. If you are too free, you are like the way Hong Kong is now. It’s very chaotic. Taiwan is also chaotic.”
He added: “I’m gradually beginning to feel that we Chinese need to be controlled. If we are not being controlled, we’ll just do what we want.”
His comments were applauded by the Chinese audience, but triggered fury in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Leung Kwok-hung, a pro-democracy MP in Hong Kong, said: “He has insulted the Chinese people. Chinese people are not pets. Chinese society needs a democratic system to protect human rights and rule of law.”
Albert Ho, another MP, said Mr Chan was “racist” and added: “People around the world are running their own countries. Why can’t the Chinese do the same?”
Mr Chan is a favourite of the authorities in Beijing, and performed in both the opening and closing ceremonies of the Summer Olympics.
He is also the vice chairman of the China Film Association, a key industry group.
However, he lost some of his goodwill among the audience when he criticised the quality of Chinese-made goods.
“If I need to buy a television, I would definitely buy a Japanese television,” he said. “A Chinese television might explode.”