BOAO, China — Hong Kong chopsocky supremo Jackie Chan launched a broadside against calls for more freedom in China, saying he wasn’t sure if a free society was what China needed and he felt that Chinese people needed to be controlled.
The multihyphenate was speaking at a high-profile conference in the tropical resort town of Boao when he was pressed by fellow panel members to take a stance against rigorous control of the media on the mainland and to give his views on suffocating censorship in the growing Chinese market.
“I’m not sure if it’s good to have freedom or not. I’m really confused now. If you’re too free, you’re like the way Hong Kong is now. It’s very chaotic. Taiwan is also chaotic,” said the 55-year-old Chan.
Like many Hong Kongers, Chan has taken a steadfastly pro-Beijing line since the former British colony reverted to Chinese control in 1997. Many in Hong Kong are pushing for gradual democratization, which is penciled in to the territory’s mini-constitution, called the Basic Law, but which Beijing is keen to see rolled back because it does not want democracy on its territory.
“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,” Chan said.
His comments were warmly received by the audience, which was made up mostly of Chinese business leaders. He was speaking at the Tapping Into Asia’s Creative Industry Potential event at the Boao Economic Forum, which is an annual economic conference attracting high-profile business leaders from China and abroad to discuss economic issues.
The panel also included the producer Andre Morgan and the WPP prexy Martin Sorrell, as well as local biz figures.
Chan also took aim at Chinese young people, saying, “They like other people’s things. They don’t like their own things,” adding that they needed to develop their own style.
Chan was heavily involved in the PR drive ahead of the Olympics and features as a Chinese customs officer in a promotional video aimed at stopping tourists from buying pirated goods when visiting China.
Chan also attacked Chinese goods, saying they had too many quality problems. Last year, contaminated milk powder killed a number of children and made thousands sick in China.
“If I need to buy a TV, I’ll definitely buy a Japanese TV. A Chinese TV might explode,” he said.
Chan’s JCE shingle has been very busy in mainland China. Earlier this month, Chan unveiled the details of his latest pic, the $25 million “Big Soldier,” which is lensing near Beijing using a 100% mainland Chinese crew.