Jackie Chan is up to something.
Now Jackie Chan has said on Chinese television that America is the world’s “most corrupt” country in a TV interview. This is not entirely new, Chan has been criticizing Taiwan and Hong Kong as models of what can go wrong when you have “too much freedom” and that there should be “limits” to free speech.
That it’s very easy to hold these opinions when you’re welcomed as a hero in both Hong Kong and Mainland China, aren’t subject to any of the laws or practices that would infringe upon his lifestyle. Chan likely owns several million dollars worth of real estate in Hong Kong, China and the United States, and here is where the almost genius of Chan’s comments come in (despite being ridiculously stupid):
He can say whatever he wants about America; there will be no repercussions. He knows that nationalism and xenophobia plays well to the majority of mainlanders, especially on the prime time news. A Chinese friend of mine described the Chinese news thusly:
The first 20 minutes is about how great things are in China and how hard the government is working to make things better.
The second 20 minutes is about how terrifyingly dangerous and hopelessly flawed the rest of the world is, especially America.
The other 20 minutes mixed in are commercials that rape your ears about KFC, Shampoo (of which Jackie Chan has his own line) or mobile phone service, which are wholly state owned enterprises (China Unicom and China Telecom).
The green box in the middle is an “anti-hair fall shampoo”. ha ha.
Either Jackie Chan has some political aspirations in Hong Kong or Beijing after he retires from movies, or, speaking of movies, Chan has a movie that is currently playing internationally, but widely in Mainland China called Chinese Zodiac, where he plays a James Bond type who scours the world kicking ass and reclaiming the once weak China’s artifacts and treasure.
Lastly, this is a good time to take some criticism as a country. We are corrupt. Are we as deeply and uniformly corrupt as China’s government is at every level? The short answer is no, and the longer answer is, i’m not 100% sure. For sure we do have corruption, though we don’t seem to take it as seriously unless it becomes a big news story. We all know it exists at the national level, in Washington DC, but don’t see much of it locally, the way you would in China.
That Chan uses his voice to criticize Imperialist America for corruption is cute, and very irresponsible of him since there is a leadership change happening in China and from all reports things are looking up in regards to human rights, corruption and the ruthless brand of Crony-Statism that is markedly Chinese (the oligarchies in Russia and eastern Europe pale in comparison).
Chan could help be an additional and highly visible voice of reason and change. Instead, I think Chan on a personal level will be on the wrong side of history and will be seen as nothing more than a self-interested opportunist.
In The Washington Post’s blog post, entitled The Anti-Americanism of Jackie Chan, Max Fisher said many US citizens familiar with Chan’s movies would be surprised by his views.
“To the degree that Chan’s comments were anti-American, they likewise reflect a common Chinese view of the United States, one that is rooted not just in attitudes toward America but in China’s proud, but sometimes insecure, view of itself,” Fisher said.