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Jackie Chan's China comments prompt backlash

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Jackie Chan should have remembered the flap caused by Tony Leung, another Hong Kong actor (and heart throb!) As Wiki recounts, During the promotion of the film Hero, some politicians and commentators in Hong Kong attacked Leung for expressing the view that the Tiananmen Square demonstration crack down was necessary to maintain stability. Under constant political pressure and boycott threats, Leung made a single statement that he may have been quoted out of context but refused to retract his statement in the magazine. However, the movie magazine editor maintained that the original statement was not out of context and challenged people to read the complete interview.

One could make the argument issues like mislabeling and copyright infringement are better handled by democracies. Dictatorships, by contrast, maintain their legitimacy by providing a good standard of living. The counterfeit industry no doubt employs millions of Chinese many of whom would be hard pressed to find other jobs.

In fact in Taiwan it was only after political liberalization occurred that the government acquired the regulatory power to address the problem of counterfeit goods. Like China, they were everywhere just on a smaller scale.

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You can't take any comments of this sort coming from any Chinese in the film industry too seriously since regardless of the true beliefs they have to keep the CCP dictatorship happy lest they get banned, censored, etc etc.

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Sometimes no matter who you are, you just seem to shoot yourself in the foot.

Bang Chan. < :-)

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Nobody is being forced to speak out on politics (and most Chinese don't). There's no reason to believe these comments from either Jackie Chan or Tony Leung are insincere.

I was in China earlier this month and, while sending off a package in a post office on the outskirts of town, was bombarded with questions about Obama. As someone observed, "We don't have elections." That plus the fact an unknown came to office after the son of a former president was elected and the wife of a former president came close dispelled the suspicion that democracies are as susceptible to nepotism as dictatorships.

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If we’re not being controlled, we’ll just do what we want.

That's called freedom.

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George W Bush is well remembered in China by the average citizen because he did not denounce Beijing's response to the Tibetan protests last year and did not cancel his visit during the Olympics after some suggested he should owing to Beijing's most undemocratic crackdown. Yet here comes Jackie Chan to say the average Chinese cannot be trusted with freedom either.

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There's no question that we need some kind of authority to protect everyone's freedom. In a free society, yes, everyone can do whatever he/she wants to do, but he/she just has to live with the consequences, like going to jail or paying a fine. That's the notion of freedom in a nutshell.

I respect Chan a lot as an actor and director, but not as a human being. Chan himself has reaped the economic benefits of a relatively free society/market. Moreover, he himself has enjoyed the freedom that came with his "achievements" and his superstar status, not realizing that not everyone is as talented and smart and as lucky as he is.

In an authoritarian society, those being controlled are the majority and those controlling others are the minority. Those being controlled would either want to move up the social ladder to become the controller in the long-run or develop some kind of "guanxi" with the controller. This would actually create more chaos underneath the calm surface. This chaos is sometimes associated with corruption and injustice, among other things. Maybe we can never get rid of this chaos, but we can certainly minimize its effects on the society.

Last but not least, I am a Chinese and I do not want to be controlled involuntariy. I would live a middle-class life in a relatively free society rather than lead a super wealthy life-style in China. I like to see everyone respected and have a reasonable amount of freedom, not just the rich and the powerful.

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Jackie Chan of course lives in Hong Kong where residents enjoy much more freedom than in China.

Taiwanese legislator Huang Wei-che said the movie star has himself "reaped the economic benefits of capitalism [but] has yet to grasp the true meaning of freedom and democracy."

Chan's comments were widely reported in Hong Kong and Taiwanese media but ignored within mainland China.

While Chan had previously been an outspoken critic of the Chinese government's crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 1989, he has since backed down from any outward antagonism toward the Chinese government.

The Chinese government no doubt wishes he'd kept his mouth shut. Mainland Chinese will hear about his comments and that will generate discussion. Beijing can hardly launch an ad hominem attack on him given that he performed in the Beijing Olympics pagentry along with the torch relay.

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The problem here is that while the Chinese Communist Party does not want to disband the current system, the reasons they offer are different. In short, they emphasize the positive aspects of subordination of the individual to the group which enhances stability and strengthens national solidarity. Jackie Chan, by contrast, was quite insulting, suggesting the Chinese people could not be trusted with freedom.

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actually, i think he's right. chinese tend not to follow the rule of law unless there are sever penalties that are vigorously enforced.

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actually, i think he's right. chinese tend not to follow the rule of law unless there are sever penalties that are vigorously enforced.

The problem is without democracy there's no way to hold government officials accountable when they break the law by soliciting bribes or lining up sweet-heart deals with their friends and relatives. If government officials don't obey the law, what hope is their for ordinary people to do so out of a belief it ensures the common good?

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Well, wasn't hard to see this comming...

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Another dickhead who thinks he's better than some people and so has the right to control them involuntarily.

Jackie, you've let me down completely. I used to be your loyal fan.

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I still like Jackie Chan. We may yet in the future hear him take the side of freedom. He had a children's cartoon that was very good at including lessons of morality and ethics. I think he has a good heart and I think he is a good guy. We all make mistakes. I don't agree with him.

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Betzee: The problem is without democracy there's no way to hold government officials accountable when they break the law by soliciting bribes or lining up sweet-heart deals with their friends and relatives.

I think that some government officials also get dealt with pretty harshly when they go too far. And lets face it, even in our so-called democracies law makers are often not held accountable for certain infractions.

“People around the world are running their own countries. Why can’t Chinese do the same?”

But the people don't run their countries. They have elections. Its not the same. I think its better than not having elections, but elections are not really all THAT great. There is more going on than that that makes our societies better and yet workable I think, and how we are raised has something to do with that.

chinese tend not to follow the rule of law unless there are sever penalties that are vigorously enforced.

A fair observation I think fds. The Chinese are, as a people, very entrepreneurial and very quick utilize any advantage they may find, regardless of what we may think is fair or not. Now consider that there are a billion of them. I do not like the way the Chinese people are controlled, and I do not think Chan does either. But both he and I realize that the Chinese are psychologically strong willed and not very good at self-policing, therefore, they may need a strong hand, especially with so many of them. But I do feel that that strong hand may be a bit too much. It needs some improvements and some loosening up. But then again, I think the Chinese people could make some adjustments too. They need to police themselves better, and I do not think most westerners are even aware of how much they police themselves (with the exception of many of our rich and powerful, who do not).

But imagine if that nation of one billion came unglued for too much freedom. A scary thought. Whatever freedoms come, I hope China takes it slow and we don't see China fall into chaos.

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I think he was referring to China's long history of insane civil wars. Leave a province alone and some guy will establish his own private army and wage war on his neighbors.

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So why doesn't he play de bad guy in his movies then. Honestly I think that the chinese government has a say in wat Jackie says.

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just a - catching with the OLDAGE - effect of Mr. Chan

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This message is for likeitis.

I agree with some of the things you said. But it sounded as if you had lost faith in the Chinese people by implying that the Chinese people had no common ground. Because they had no common ground, chaos would be certain to follow if they were set free. I am confused here. I don't know what kind of chaos you had in mind. Was it war? Was it disrespect? Or was it corruption and injustice?

Why did every Chinese man dream of becoming an emperor himself? What caused a dynasty to fall? Maybe injustice and the fact that some people (such as the emperor and government officials and rich citizens) had more freedom than others had something to do with the chaos that we see happen in Chinese history. Maybe, I'm just saying maybe, if you gave freedom to everyone, there wouldn't be as many people killing over that one position, the society would be more open and just, resulting in a more stable and harmonious nation.

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Even with tought laws and regualtion China is chaotic. Anyone who has spent any time there knows that at the grassroots level it is a zoo. People rude, facilities all ruined, manners non-existent, dishonesty rife, etc etc. Could be a fun ction of 50 years of Communism (lots of E European countries were also like this in the 90's), but could also be cultural.

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Weihans, I am confused here. I don't know what kind of chaos you had in mind. Was it war? Was it disrespect? Or was it corruption and injustice?

Anyof the above. I am not Chinese and I am no expert on China, or maybe I could choose better.

But it sounded as if you had lost faith in the Chinese people by implying that the Chinese people had no common ground.

Common ground does not ensure peace and harmony. In fact, it can be a cause of violence and unrest.

In my life I have met many kinds of Chinese people. But two certain kinds seemed to be most common: the kind that would give you the shirt off their back just to make you happy, and the kind who would spend a whole week scheming just to get the shirt off your back. Every country has people like that last group, but China has too many from what little I have seen. I am wary of them. They do not seem to care about their neighbors or the country of China even, so they have to be policed from outside.

Maybe, I'm just saying maybe, if you gave freedom to everyone, there wouldn't be as many people killing over that one position, the society would be more open and just, resulting in a more stable and harmonious nation.

Positive, yet still wise words. And I especially agree with the "maybe" you wrote. I hope you are right, and if so, I hope that happens in China. But maybe Mr. Chan is right. I don't know. I only entered the discussion to say that right or wrong, Mr. Chan has a point and should not be treated too harshly for speaking it. I still hope he is wrong though.

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likeitis:

Yes, common ground may not ensure peace and harmony. But I can tell you this with certainty: having no commong ground will never ensure peace and harmony if the people are to live together. That's not my opinion, it's how we define "not having common ground." Here, I thought I might share you a quote: "Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor." With that said, there may be something in the world that is higher and greater than your short-lived peace.

To me, your statement that the "Chinese are, as a people, very entrepreneurial and very quick utilize any advantage they may find..." is nothing more than a euphemism for "the Chinese people are myopic." But still, I wouldn't go as far as to call that myopia "entrepreneurial." I hate to say this, but I think you need to get a dictionary and study the words carefully before you use them.

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Mittsu:

I feel you. I felt like I was in a zoo when I was in China (not that I have anything against animals because I am an animal too). The people treat each other like shit, no kidding, except for the people that were with us, which were extremely nice and polite.

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Visiting China over the last few years I was struck how free they are. (Just as long as they take care not to say or write anything overtly political.) In fact they were so free that I began to understand why the central government feels it has to crack down every so often and make extreme examples. I am with Jackie on this one.

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likeitis:

You got it all wrong. The question is not whether we need authority or not. The question is, rather, how to choose and who gets to be that authority. That is the core of the argument.

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likeitis:

Oh, I got an idea, why don't we let Mr. Chan, as opposed to the people, handpick the authority figure because he seems to know who is most able to run the country? It would save an awful lot of time, elections always take a long time.

But then here's my question, what are Mr. Chan's criteria for such a position?

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But then here's my question, what are Mr. Chan's criteria for such a position?

It could be worse. It could be like Japan and he was born into it. Maybe he might be like governator...could be interesting. Anyway, I think his words may have been taken out of context. Nothing like making a celebrity look bad to get good sales. Also, he might not have been able to express his full views or the reporter or journalist just took what he/she wanted.

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I think that some government officials also get dealt with pretty harshly when they go too far. And lets face it, even in our so-called democracies law makers are often not held accountable for certain infractions.

Of course some of them have. But the system of accountability in China relies on the CCP policing itself. This means big cheeses are rarely implicated while those held accountable have often fallen out of favor for other reasons. Or it's been decided to offer them up to the public as sacrificial lambs to appease outrage. But it changes nothing.

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Likeitis:

If Chinese are psychologically strong-willed and mature like real adults (as opposed to adult-children), then they should be good at self-policing. But since, like you said, Chinese (Chinese leaders included) are not very good at self-policing, they probably need an outside force to police for them. This is exactly the same thing many invaders of China have said.

It almost sounds like you are implying that current leaders in China are not Chinese. If they are Chinese, then they cannot be "trusted to NOT be chaotic."

If "chaos" is partisan fighting, then China is definitely very orderly because you only have one or two voices. But if "chaos" is cutting in line and pushing and shoving in public and injustice and corruption, then China is already very chaotic. I feel I can say that because I have lived in China before.

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