CORRECTION: Thanks to eagle-eyed readers, the date of Jackie Chan's controversial remarks has been corrected.
Comments Jackie Chan made in China in April last year about the Chinese people needing “to be controlled” spurred demands this weekend from an art activist for an “Urgent Action” to stop a statue of the action star from being erected in Los Angeles' Chinatown.
There's just one problem: the proposed statue would depict Bruce Lee, not Jackie Chan.
Participating in a panel discussion titled “Tapping Into Asia's
Creative Industry Potential” at the annual
Boao Forum in China's southern island province of Hainan, Chan drew applause from a predominantly Chinese audience
of business leaders when he said he's not sure if a free
society is a good thing for China and that he's starting to think “we
Chinese need to be controlled.”
“I'm really confused now,” said the 55-year-old Hong Kong actor, as reported by the Huffington Post. “If you're too free, you're like the way Hong Kong
is now. It's very chaotic. Taiwan is also chaotic.”
He reportedly 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
Chan apparently has not been a vocal supporter of his hometown's pro-democracy
two 14 months since he said those things–just long enough ago to keep entertainment reporters in The Karate Kid cattle call from bringing them up, but not long enough ago for Ann Lau to forget them. She chairs the board of the LA-based Visual Arts Guild, a nonprofit established in 1985 to champion freedom of speech and expression.
The way Chan expressed himself in freely speaking about the Chinese people was enough to spur Lau to alert the media about a hearing this Wedbesday night at Chinatown's Alpine Recreation Center, where city parks and recreation officials would be talking about a proposed Chan statue.
“As Chinese-Americans, we are appalled that Jackie Chan not only demeans the ethnic Chinese and treating them as slaves who need to be controlled but he also sabotages the struggle for democracy in Hong Kong as well as Taiwan's democracy,” Lau stated in her alert to supporters and the media.
She asked Chinese nationals to contact their friends and family in Taiwan and the mainland about the matter . . .
. . . And then she issued an apology Monday morning.
“The statue is not of Jackie Chan but Bruce Lee,” she revealed in an email. “Please note this correction! Please inform your friends. Again, my sincere apology.”
We would instruct you to insert your favorite “see-even-they-think-they-all-look-alike” crack here, but that would be rude and racist so we will do no such thing.
Instead, we will note that at the same Boao Forum, Chan said that for years, before becoming an international star, he lived in the shadow of Lee.
And his statue, too!