Thursday, April 23, 2009

Jackie Chan Is Not A Fan of Freedom

Jackie Chan questioned the need for freedom for Chinese people during a speech Saturday, prompting outrage from lawmakers in Taiwan and Hong Kong, who accused him of insulting his own race.The 55-year-old star of "Rush Hour" said at a business forum in the southern Chinese island province Hainan on Saturday that a free society may not be beneficial for authoritarian mainland China. "I'm not sure if it's good to have freedom or not," Chan said at the Boao Forum. "If you're too free, you're like the way Hong Kong is now. It's very chaotic. Taiwan is also chaotic."Chan added, "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."

Chan's comments drew applause from his audience of mainly business leaders in Hainan on Saturday, but prompted fierce criticism from lawmakers in Taiwan and his hometown Hong Kong on Sunday. Taiwan, which split with mainland China amid civil war in 1949, is a democratically self-ruled island. "He's insulted the Chinese people. Chinese people aren't pets," pro-democracy Hong Kong legislator Leung Kwok-hung told The Associated Press in a phone interview. "Chinese society needs a democratic system to protect human rights and rule of law."


As I followed the 2008 Presidential election, I began to see more and more celebrities getting involved in the political scene. I expected them to walk around wearing their favorite candidates T-Shirt while smiling for the cameras. It surprised me when Walker, Texas Ranger and other celebrities started making negative comments about the guy who lost. Last month, Walker started talking about being president of Texas. The crazy thing about celebrity commentary is that it actually garners a captive audience. I disagree with Jackie Chan's belief that the people in his homeland need to be controlled. Freedom is birthright and something that many Westerners take for granted. Admittedly, there are times when I wish the United States had more rigid gun laws. I wish people could be punished for recklessly bringing children into the world that they cannot support. I realize, however, that my view of the world should not be forced upon others. Furthermore, I have no right to use my views as a vehicle to take freedom from others. China's lawmakers don't have that right either. Chan's comments are ironic because some of his movies are banned in China. Dude is making money with the freedom he doesn't want others to have. Bob Marley's "Redemption Song" should be played during the protests in China.

Old pirates, yes, they rob I
Sold I to the merchant ships
Minutes after they took I
From the bottomless pit
But my hand was made strong
By the and of the almighty
We forward in this generation
Won't you help to sing
These songs of freedom