Martial arts movie legend Jackie Chan deserves a rhetorical roundhouse kick to the mouth. So does his pal PSY, the Korean rapper whose “Gangnam Style” music video has racked up more than a billion views worldwide. Both men have raked in big bucks from Western fans while trashing the very freedoms and cultures that made them superstars.
Last week, The Washington Post spotlighted a recent interview Chan did with Chinese TV in which he accused America of being “the most corrupt country in the world.” The Hong Kong-born Chan also admitted proudly that he is a propagandist for the Communist Chinese government. He openly advised his fellow countrymen to speak with forked tongues when addressing foreign press: “We know our country has many problems. We (can) talk about it when the door is closed. To outsiders, (we should say) “our country is the best.”
Translation: Rampant sex-selection abortions? Shhh. Jailing political dissidents? La, la, la, can’t hear you! Systemic religious persecution? State-sanctioned censorship? Continued brutality against Tiananmen Square protesters and Tibetans? Nothing to see here, move along, and down with America!
Turns out that behind the jovial cinematic persona, Chan is an unrepentant champion of authoritarian rule. Despite making a living as an entertainer and “humanitarian,” Chan suffers a severe allergic reaction to freedom of speech and freedom of thought. In a separate interview last month with China’s Southern People Weekly, he complained that Hong Kong had become a city of too many protests. “There should be regulations on what can and cannot be protested,” Chan declared.
Earlier in 2009, Chan echoed Chinese Communist leaders in asserting that Chinese people “need to be controlled” because “if we are not being controlled, we’ll just do what we want.” God forbid!
This contempt for freedom of expression comes from an international box-office mogul who has topped the Forbes China Celebrity 100 list and has an estimated net worth of more than $130 million. Even more damning, Chan’s own personal history is defined by the turmoil of Mao’s Cultural Revolution. As the 2003 documentary “Traces of a Dragon” recounted, Chan’s father and mother both fled China for Hong Kong to escape Communist rule. They left behind their original spouses and four children between them.
Instead of condemning the regime that wrought havoc on his family and imposed suffering and death on millions of innocents, Chan is China’s most prominent mainstream apologist. Meanwhile, moviegoers in the “most corrupt country in the world” continue to help make Chan a wealthy man. This summer, his latest movie, “Chinese Zodiac,” will hit U.S. theaters. Sylvester Stallone has invited him to co-star in the next installment of “The Expendables.” And Chan is working on another Hollywood project involving his popular “Police Story” series.
Will American consumers allow themselves to be punched in the gut by this trash-talking action star? If the embrace of Chan’s new pal PSY is any indication, the answer is yes. The Korean “Gangnam Style” performer once urged listeners to “kill those (expletive deleted) Yankees … kill their daughters, mothers, daughters-in-law and fathers.”
Called out on the hate lyrics, he issued a hasty apology before performing for the president and his family last month. Instead of rejection, PSY continues to be courted by the American entertainment industry. He’ll be working with Justin Bieber’s producer and will make an appearance in a high-profile ad for pistachios during the Super Bowl.
At a Hong Kong awards show last month, Chan and PSY met for the first time. It was a mutual admiration society. “You are the legend,” Chan said to PSY as a young audience cheered on. “One day you can make your dream come up. All the young people, never give up. One day your dream may come true, just like him. So proud of you.”
“Yankees” — especially those whose parents came to the United States from all parts of Asia seeking freedom from tyranny — should shun these exploitative peas in an anti-American pod. They don’t speak for me.