Jackie Chan may be a star in the U.S., but don’t assume that means he’s a fan of democracy.
During a July 8 Beijing symposium celebrating the Chinese Communist Party’s centennial, the action star sang the praises of the Party and stated outright that he would like to count himself among its ranks.
“I’m jealous that you are CCP members. The CCP is really great,” he told the communist leaders who were present, adding, “The CCP’s promises don’t take 100 years, they are fulfilled in decades. I want to become a CCP member.”
These remarks follow on the heels of Chan’s performance in “The Epic Journey,” a play that celebrated the founding of the CCP. One scene featured the Hong Kong-born action star singing “Defend the Yellow River,” a Chinese patriotic song about the country’s 1939 war with Japan.
John Lee, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, told Vice that if Chan does apply for CCP membership, “the party is likely to ‘look favorably’ on [him], thanks to his celebrity status and long-standing relationship with officials.”
Lee added, “The party is also keen to make the point that Hong Kong is inevitably being integrated into the mainland, so granting membership to a high-profile figure like Jackie Chan would strongly support their narrative.”
This isn’t the first time Chan has shown his support for the Chinese government. In 2008 he praised the regime’s censorship policies, saying during a forum on Asia, “I’m not sure if it’s good to have freedom or not. I’m really confused now. If you’re too free, you’re like the way Hong Kong is now. It’s very chaotic. Taiwan is also chaotic. I’m gradually beginning to feel that we Chinese need to be controlled. If we’re not being controlled, we’ll just do what we want.”
According to The Independent, Hong Kong lawmakers reacted with anger, with one, Leung Kwok-hung, accusing Chan of “insulting” the Chinese people. “Chinese people aren’t pets,” he said
Taiwanese politician, Huang Wei-cher, also responded negatively to Chan’s comments, pointing out the hypocrisy behind them. “He himself has enjoyed freedom and democracy and has reaped the economic benefits of capitalism,” Wei-cher said, “But he has yet to grasp the true meaning of freedom and democracy.”
In 2013, Chan sparked controversy when he told Hong Kong news outlet Phoenix TV that the United States is the “most corrupt” country in the world.
“If you talk about corruption, the entire world, the America, has no corruption? [It is] the most corrupt in the world,” he said while promoting a Chinese film.
Chan’s views today are a far cry from those he held when he was an up-and-coming actor. In the early days of his career, he was an outspoken supporter of Hong Kong’s freedom, even performing at the Concert for Democracy in China, a fundraiser to benefit students involved in the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.
In 2019 when The New York Times asked Chan what he thought of recent pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, the action star seemed to disavow his youthful activism. “I don’t know anything about it,” he said.
The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.