Jackie Chan’s China Comments Prompt Backlash

AP, April 19, 2009

Action star Jackie Chan ‘s comments wondering whether Chinese people “need to be controlled” have drawn sharp rebuke in his native Hong Kong and in Taiwan .

Chan told a business forum in the southern Chinese province of Hainan that a free society may not be beneficial for China ‘s authoritarian mainland.

“I’m not sure if it’s good to have freedom or not,” Chan said Saturday. “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.”

He went on to say that freedoms in Hong Kong and Taiwan made those societies “chaotic.”

Chan’s comments drew applause from a predominantly Chinese audience of business leaders, but did not sit well with lawmakers in Taiwan and Hong Kong.

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Another lawmaker, Albert Ho, called the comments “racist,” adding: “People around the world are running their own countries. Why can’t Chinese do the same?”

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Although Chan was a fierce critic of the brutal crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in June 1989, which killed at least hundreds, he has not publicly criticized China’s government in recent years and is immensely popular on the mainland.

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