Sunday, April 19, 2009

Jackie Chan a Communist Stooge??

Whoa! Who’d a thunk it? Jackie Chan, the talented and imaginative, but basically harmless clown of martial arts cinema is actually becoming a controversial figure in Chinese politics. Check out this story about a conference on April 18 that’s generating some uproar.

As well as it should! For someone who had reaped the benefits of Hong Kong capitalism and democracy, his comments that Chinese people might not be able to handle freedom is distasteful. Perhaps he’d taken some lessons in political hypocrisy from the Hollywood far left the last time he was on this side of the Pacific…anyone remember Madonna on her Michael Moore kick, chiding Americans for being too materialistic? Sean Penn and Danny Glover palling around with dictator Hugo Chavez?

Now I’m curious as to what else will happen in a reportedly building backlash to his statements. In the meantime, I’m also wondering if he might be due a little bit of the benefit of the doubt, since we can’t be sure of the accuracy of the translation of his words or the context they might have come in. Jackie, after all, had also been very critical of the Chinese government’s crackdown on the pro-democracy protesters at Tiananmen Square in 1989. But, then again, as his critics point out, there have been a number of extremely callous statements he had also made about the critics of China’s policies. Of those who protested the 2008 Olympics, he said they were “only” trying to cause trouble to get themselves on TV. To imply that the critics of China’s invasion of and policies in Tibet are somehow akin to crazy reality TV show wannabes acting outrageously to get attention is ridiculous. The fact that an angry crowd turned out to jeer him on a recent trip to Taiwan doesn’t surprise me.

All in all, his critics have called him one of the most visible apologists for the Chinese government’s anti-democratic policies. Perhaps his behavior might be motivated by the fact that his massive personal fortune and business interests are still invested in Hong Kong and mainland China. But, nonetheless, his behavior is disturbing and his critics are more than entitled to their outrage.

Jackie, say it ain’t so!!!!


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