‘The most corrupt country is America,’ Jackie Chan’s comments widely panned in China

December 13, 2012Jing Gao32 Comments, , , , , , , ,

In a talk show aired on Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV Monday, Jackie Chan, the world-famous actor and show-biz star, said that China is not the country with the most serious corruption problem; the United States is. He also called on Chinese people to refrain from criticizing the China, especially in front of “outsiders”.  The remarks immediately set off waves of criticism in China’s micro-blogosphere. Many Chinese net users joked “He should shut up and focus on acting,” but others believe he had a point.


The talk show, broadcast daily on weekdays, is a flagship program of Phoenix TV. Its features a host joined by two prominent media personalities or celebrities in discussions of a wide range of social, cultural and political issues. On Monday’s program, Jackie Chan and Ma Weidu, a nationally known connoisseur in antiques who also hosts his own talk show, are guests.

The program lasts roughly 22 minutes, in which Jackie Chan promotes his latest film and recounts his personal anecdotes in film making, leaving Ma in evident eclipse. Near the end of the show, however, when the host touched upon Jackie Chan’s nationalistic image against the backdrop of growing discontent with the country on Chinese Internet, the super star said,

Jackie Chan: The New China…The real success has been made in the past dozen of years. Our country’s president also admits they have the corruption problem, and some other stuff, but we are making progress. What I can see is our country is continuously making progress and learning. If you talk about corruption, the entire world, the America, has no corruption?

Host: America.

Jackie: The most corrupt in the world.

Host: Really?

Jackie: Of course. Where does this Great Breakdown (depression) come from? It started exactly from the world, the United States. When I was interviewed in the U.S., people asked me, I said the same thing. I said now that China has become strong, everyone is making an issue of China. If our own countrymen don’t support our country, who will support our country? We know our country has many problems. We (can) talk about it when the door is closed. To outsiders, (we should say,) “our country is the best.”

Host: So he can’t get enough of his more than 20 ambassador titles. I think the Ministry of Foreign Affairs should ask him to be the ambassador to the United States.

Jackie: Seriously, I am always like, when the door is closed, “Our country is like this and this. Who and who is not good.” But outside, “Our country is the best, like so and so, is the best.” You cannot say our country has problems (when you are outside), like “Yes, our country is bad.”

Video: (Jump to 21:30)

Most Chinese net users lashed out at Jackie Chan. Many made fun of his lack of basic common sense or logic.  虫子在北京 sighed, “What a poorly educated kid!” 袁裕来律师 wondered, “Which grade at school did Jackie Chan graduate from?” 潘帕斯雄猪 exclaimed, “Please, if you want to tell a good lie, tell an educated one. Go learn some knowledge before you contribute to CCP’s corruption.” 七木ca翁 was baffled, “‘The most corrupt country in the world is America.’ Where does this come from? ‘Supporting country’ means you cannot be opposed to corruption? Being opposed to corruption means non-support? Means ‘making an issue’? So, being opposed to corruption is wrong?”

Others pointed out Jackie Chan has a vested interest in glossing over the problems and defects of the Communist rule. 丫一幂 says, “His whitewash is for reaping bigger profits in the mainland!” 隔夜茶地盘 commented, “His desire for becoming an official must have driven him crazy.” 天朝外交官 was more blunt, “If I could get so many goddamn benefits every year, I would sing commies’ praises as well.”

While Jackie Chan’s remarks have definitely alienated many netizens, he aligned himself with others. 刘忻也想练健美 agreed with the no-criticism-in-front-of-outsiders part, “Never let the skeleton out of your closet,” Jackie Chan is definitely right. Phoenix天马 chimed in, “I agree. There is no perfect man. And surely no perfect country…What is the goddamn point of bellyaching every day? I hate that kind of person the most!” 岳瀚森 asked further, “Well said. Our country, while having many problems, is making constant progress. Do you f**king know what it is like abroad? Don’t ever assume it is paradise.”

It is not the first foot-in-mouth comments Jackie Chan made on politics. Some of his previous gaffes came close to denting his career. In 2004, he said Taiwanese presidential election is “an international joke; 20 or 100 years later, it will still be a huge joke. I feel it is so pathetic.” He was assailed by Taiwanese on online message boards and forums. There were even calls in Taiwan for a boycott on his films.

In 2009 at Boao Forum for Asia, he managed to rile up Hong Kong, Taiwan, as well as mainland China. Asked about mainland censorship on filmmaking, Chan said, “With too much freedom, it can get very chaotic, like today’s Hong Kong, or like Today’s Taiwan, also very chaotic. I am starting to think, we Chinese people, need to be reined, otherwise they will do whatever they want…Many people, unlike those in the United States and Japan, have no self-respect. When you have no self-respect, the government steps in and rein you in.”

Video: Jackie Chan on HK and Taiwan being too chaotic.

Also, on the same occasion, he said out of blue, “If I need to buy a TV set, I will definitely by a Japanese product. Why? Because the Chinese one will explode! Many Chinese brands, too many, do not give people confidence. Too many small manufacturers adversely affected bigger manufacturers. Some sneaky, wily people, well, add to some stuff to milk powder and like…These are all a type of…a type of…Ah, I cannot express it. Anyway, it makes me very angry.”

Video: Jackie Chan: “Chinese TV set will explode!”

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32 comments to “‘The most corrupt country is America,’ Jackie Chan’s comments widely panned in China”

  1. Jay Casey | December 13, 2012 | Permalink Reply

    I had no idea Chan was such a fool. Too many blows to the head I assume.

  2. Mario | December 14, 2012 | Permalink Reply

    LOL I agree. I know America is not perfect, has faults, and even sticks its nose where it does not belong but to say that America is on the corrupt level lower than most 3rd World countries? I think Jackie needs to look at the recent transparency report (Corruption Perceptions Index 2012) that came out a few weeks ago and see where the most country is at. I agree that near death stunt in Armor Of God movie he made many years ago is now coming back to mess with his mind. Like most movie stars that tend to say asinine things, I enjoy their movies but I tend to ignore their comments because experience has shown many do not know what they are talking about.

    • richard | January 16, 2013 | Permalink Reply

      The report does not take into consideration of thing such as corporate campaign lobbying and contributions to election. Remember Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, and the “corporations are people too” slogans?

    • openeyedAmerican | February 6, 2013 | Permalink Reply

      Mario, the “Corruption Perceptions Index” is just that….a compilation of perceptions based on viewpoints, not real hard data. Much of it can be influenced by media triggers. That same report you refer to also claims Iceland, Uk, Norway, Sweden and Japan along the same “cleanliness” on political corruption index as USA. Meanwhile, ALL those nations rank FAR higher than USA in Global Peace Rating. Perception can become reality i the minds of the weary. Japan now ranks 5th most peaceful nation in the world for instance, Iceland #1. Where is USA? It comes in at #88 in Global peace, as we spend more than half the world combined on war, weapons, extolling “virtue” over it all when it really is nothing but a political play on arms sales, global dominance or “power” oil and other political and economic domains hurting our nation in the end. A more accurate picture is from the Institute of Economics & Peace, as it looks at real data not just taking polls. Americans, the world at large, have for so long had it ingrained in the brain USA the most “free nation” and we fought for all that freedom. This highly unsustainable marketing spin is what will take us down in the end, and is 100% linked to all recent shootings (CT for instance, his mothers military weapons, she taught him to shoot, addicted to violent video games) This is ALL political corruption……right down to a shooting in a school. Politics saying it is a “freedom” or “right” to bear arms, or spend more than half the world combined on war and weapons and glorify it all. Let’s not remain too apathetic

  3. Eraldo Coil | December 14, 2012 | Permalink Reply

    Ummm… has he never heard of India? …

  4. David Ly | December 14, 2012 | Permalink Reply

    This fellow is an useful idiot, term that Stalin called those commie sympathisers, he’s just an opportunist trying hard to please the new master, low intelligent and lack of integrity.

    • Philip McMorrow | January 14, 2013 | Permalink Reply

      Thank you for reminding me of Stalin’s phrase “useful idiot.” It is certainly applicable here.

    • richard | January 16, 2013 | Permalink Reply

      Funny, it was Lenin who said that, not Stalin. And if pointing out corruption problems present in American government makes him a fellow traveller, then that term also applies to millions of Americans.

  5. Blacksoth | December 14, 2012 | Permalink Reply

    There’s plenty of corruption in America. I agree most with the response of the netizen that said this:

    [[七木ca翁 was baffled, “‘The most corrupt country in the world is America.’ Where does this come from? ‘Supporting country’ means you cannot be opposed to corruption? Being opposed to corruption means non-support? Means ‘making an issue’? So, being opposed to corruption is wrong?”]]

    If you can’t talk about problems, you can’t solve them. Plus, he’s an idiot to think people don’t already know because Jackie Chan is two-faced and thinks all chinese should be too.

    The point is to not support corruption. In any form. By any country.

    • Mario | December 14, 2012 | Permalink Reply

      I disagree on your statement. Not denying there is corruption in the USA but Jackie is saying that the USA is the MOST CORRUPT nation in the world. In ranking of corruption, the USA beats out Mexico, Somalia, Afghanistan, etc. Thats where Jackie is wrong. Having grown up in Mexico, I have seen and experienced the corruption first hand, Believe me when many mexicans and people from other corrupt countries south of the USA, risk illegaly crossing the border because compared to where they are leaving, the USA corruption is pittance. I do agree that corruption in all forms and manners is wrong.

      • Blacksoth | December 15, 2012 | Permalink Reply

        Re-read what I wrote. I was agreeing with the person I quoted, not Jackie Chan.

        And the US “IS” very corrupt, just not the MOST corrupt.

        • Mario | December 21, 2012 | Permalink Reply

          I did not refer to you I was refering to Jackie and I am disagreeing with the statement IS VERY. I have been to other countries and believe me if people think the US is VERY CORRUPT in ranking of Ethioia, Vietnam, then you people have not traveled much. I having visited other countires and these countries do not come close to corruption. Yes you do have fraud and other things going on but like I said ,when you have to pay the local police not be put in jail for trumped charges then you have not experienced corruption. Or when the mayors son can own a firearm and shoot it at anything and anyone and have the police say it was an “accidental discharge”. The supposed illegal firearm is then “confiscated” and in an hour later return it back to the owner, thats corruption.

          • blue blood | May 30, 2013 | Permalink

            i got a question mario. if the u.s wasnt corrupt, then why is it that when ted kenedy kills a woman while driving, he does not spend a single day in jail? i am pretty sure if i killed a woman with a car, i;d be in jail for a long time. robert downey jr keeps getting arrested for drugs. yet he keeps getting out. if i was doing the same thing, i;d be in jail and would not be getting out. the same thing goes for western countries such as ireland. mathew broderick killed a woman and his daughter because he was driving recklessly. again, he didnt do any time. he just left the country. and if i had done that, i’d be in jail. i always say that in capitalist countries, the rich never go to jail for their crimes, they only go to jail because some other rich person wants him gone. if you traced the funds of corruption in vietnam, ethiopia, or afganistan, you will find that the source of the money is coming from western multinational corporations. if you want to know the root of corrupt, then you have to follow the money. maybe the reason why jackie chan is saying that the usa is the most corrupt is because a lot of dirty money can be traced back to the usa, not to mention switzerland, and britain. and if you talk to some people from the military industrial complex, then you can see how corrupt the usa actually is. you got military contractors that are straight up scamming the tax payers of america, creating fictitious threats and selling rubbish weapons to the government for ridiculous prices. for example, you got the u.s govt funeling money to corporations that shill on forums like this. if that isnt corruption, i dont know what is. would the tax payers agree to pay for shills online? i dont think so. american needs to step up its transparency, then we will see the real corruption. most people would be shocked to see how corrupt the u.s govt, and western govts in general are. i think one of the reasons why chan is calling america out is because america frequently accuses others of being corrupt while diverting attention away from itself. also, you guys need to take a look into any police departments across the u.s. i’d say that you will get beat up other cops for not being corrupt. and theres a rule across all u.s police departments that if you snitch on other corrupt cops, then it;s game over for you.

  6. Jonathan Alpart | December 14, 2012 | Permalink Reply

    I agree with Jackie Chan. America is the most corrupt country in the world on the macroscale. Sure, they don’t have officials buying cellphones for mistresses (I suppose), but they are exceedingly corrupt in global proportions. HSBC anyone? Iraq?

    America does not have the widespread culture of petty corruption like China, yes, but surely Jackie Chan was talking about the foreign and domestic policies of America that affect the entire planet.

    Noam Chomsky said it best when he said, I paraphrase, corruption in China is not such a bad problem, because petty greed is a much better situation than the thirst for absolute power.

  7. G | December 15, 2012 | Permalink Reply

    The quoted translated transcripts are inaccurate. Which totally distorts what Jackie Chan actually said on the show.

    He didn’t say America is the most corrupt country in the world. He asked the question, “what country in the world doesn’t have corruption?” Then said that the biggest corruption scandal in the world came out of America, referring to the 2008 financial crisis.

  8. Dan | December 15, 2012 | Permalink Reply

    Honestly, he’s pretty much spot on. The US is horribly corrupt and won’t even admit it, just sweep it under the rug and pretend it doesn’t exist. Yes, there’s corruption in China, but it’s not as bad as most think it is. Far far far worse in the US.

    • Don | January 13, 2013 | Permalink Reply

      I suppose China’s mobile death vans, and exquisite human rights records can just be swept under the rug, too, right? The Corruption in America doesn’t involve vans that pick up dissidents, snuff them out, harvest the organs, and use them to sell transplants to millionaires who needed a donor. You obviously have no grasp on what goes on in some parts of the world.

      • Seo Wook Kim | January 22, 2013 | Permalink Reply

        just as ted kenedy killing Mary Jo Kopechne, and the hundreds and thousands of rich people who get away with murder in america, and western countries. yea the corruption in america doesnt involve vans that pick up disidents, snuf them out, harvest their organs and use them to sell translplants to millionaires who needed a donor, they leave that to the cia, to pick up dissidents in a van, snuff them out at black sites in thailand, egypt and throughout the world.

  9. Henry Chan | December 16, 2012 | Permalink Reply

    Jackie Chan is the luckiest “Actor” from Asia “make it” in Hollywood. Without proper film training, Jackie obviously can’t act, can’t speak, but Martial Arts his way into frame and fortune. Yes, Hollywood is corrupted, but China and HK film industry far far worst.

    • richard | January 16, 2013 | Permalink Reply

      How so, considering that Jackie was already famous for years in Hong Kong before getting big in America. He’s also one of the few people that directs, writes, acts , and coordinate stunts in one movie, and one of the few leading Asian male actors in Hollywood.

  10. China Newz | December 24, 2012 | Permalink Reply

    Wherever human beings are, there is corruption. It is inherent in human nature. Ranking countries, ethnicities based on who is more corrupt is subjective in measure. But there probably is some truth to the Corruption Index report. Less transparency, less regulation and oversight in countries will undoubtedly lead to more unethical behavior. This is why third world countries tend to rank higher than more developed countries.

    As China develops more, and has more transparency, think there will be a drop in corruption. How significant this will be remains unanswered.

    Jackie’s experiences have come from Hollywood, too. Surely, there is underhanded activity in the filmmaking business in the US. Bet he has a few stories from Tinsel town.

    Agree with Jackie that the US is responsible for the Financial Crisis. Wouldn’t agree that corruption was the source of the Financial Crisis, rather egregious risk taking, and profit seeking by corporations. Individual consumers also took on much too much debt relative to their earnings.

  11. Marketing China | January 2, 2013 | Permalink Reply

    I never do business in America, but … i wish that there is less corruption than in China :lol: .. ;)

  12. tangxing | January 8, 2013 | Permalink Reply

    That’s funny, I’m old enough to remember Jackie Chan bash China at every turn when it was politically convenient back in the 80s. Guy’s an opportunist.

  13. Rich | January 14, 2013 | Permalink Reply

    Maybe I am missing something but it seems to me the crux of this story is that Jackie Chan is fond of China which I guess is his country of origin so I am not surprised that he doesn’t want his people talking bad about China in public.

    Critic your own country while you are at home and cheer for your own country in public.
    We Americans really don’t cheer for our own country much anymore what with wikileaks and anonymous publicly spilling our military information and people throwing park benches through store windows and setting dumpsters on fire.

    When I was raised, we said the pledge of allegiance and were told America was good. Liberty and freedom were good and worth fighting for.
    And that under communism everything was spread around equally, especially the misery. No one could stand out and achieve more and f you did it didn’t matter.
    I’m sure Jackie was told just the opposite.
    But I can’t blame the guy for cheering for his own country.
    I think you can do that however without calling other countries “the most corrupt” especially when he makes millions of dollars here.
    Then he must be just as corrupt if the most corrupt country funds his lifestyle.

  14. richard | January 16, 2013 | Permalink Reply

    This isn’t purely a China vs US issue, as some Americans are insanely nationalist and ironically echoes Chan’s “criticize in private, praise in public” sentiment. When Piers Morgan criticized America’s gun laws in his show, there were petitions for him to be deported, while when old footage of Psy showed him making anti-American sentiments, they were calls for his citizenship to be stripped and he was forced to apologize. This thing is happening with Jackie Chan, but probably die within a week as these people move back to calling for the impeachment of Obama.

  15. Seo Wook Kim | January 22, 2013 | Permalink Reply

    Nice job Jackie

  16. ShenLong | January 22, 2013 | Permalink Reply

    Jackie is the Boss, anyone calling him stupid are stupid!

  17. whoppak | March 27, 2013 | Permalink Reply

    Talking about the most Corrupt… PHILIPPINES is the No.1 Corrupt Countries in the entire planet.

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