“Six more months and I’m going to be 60,” Jackie Chan told an interviewer at Cannes last year. “And I (will) see how far I can go until my body tells me ‘Stop’.”
But when it comes to stopping, Chan might be best advised to focus on one particular part of his body: his tongue. Unfortunately the kung-fu star has got into the habit of making controversial statements.
Back in 2009 the all-action star provoked an enormous backlash when he said that Chinese people “need to be controlled” because “if we are not being controlled, we’ll just do what we want”. Chan has also criticised Hong Kong as “a city of protest,” and in January this year referred to the United States as “the most corrupt country” in the world.
So perhaps it should come as little surprise that he once again steered his foot in the direction of his mouth on a press tour to promote his film CZ12 in the US.
Asked on American TV about bilateral relations between China and the US, the film star responded by saying that both superpowers needed to work together, adding for good measure that all nations should to be ready to do more to co-operate with one another.
So far, so good…
But Jackie wasn’t finished: “I should not say it. [But] sometimes I really like to see some countries have a disaster coming, either a big tsunami, or a big earthquake,” he mused.
“After the big disaster comes, you see the whole world, everybody, fly in to help the country. I’m so happy. No tsunami, no earthquakes, everybody has nothing to do, then politics comes in. You fight me, I fight you. I don’t like to see those kinds of things.”
Netizens were quick to respond to Chan’s dubious logic. “Jackie, there are problems with your statement. The biggest victims of the earthquake and tsunami are the ordinary people, women and children,” one microblogger thundered.
“Jackie Chan may be a genius in some aspects but in other aspects he is just an idiot,” another one suggested.
Others came to Chan’s defence: “Former Premier Wen Jiabao once said trials and tribulations serve only to revitalise a nation. I think Jackie Chan was just trying to say something similar but was misunderstood,” one offered helpfully.
Chan defended himself by saying that the televised comments were taken out of context. “How could anyone like to see natural disasters?” he told Tencent Entertainment. “What I meant was I want everyone to rally together, to protect and defend each other. I don’t know why my meaning was distorted in this way but I don’t care, [because] people who know and understand me will realise this. For those who like sensationalist reporting, nothing I say will make a difference.”
Other Hong Kong celebrities also voiced their support for the kung-fu star. “I believe the comment was not from his heart. It is not rational, right?” actress Carina Lau told the Apple Daily.
Sometimes “we all misunderstand Jackie Chan”, she added.
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