‘The most corrupt country is America,’ Jackie Chan’s comments widely panned in China
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?
Jackie: The most corrupt in the world.
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!”