2. On Saturday, Jackie Chan received 6,400 comments on Weibo for praising Beijing’s blue skies. Nearly half of them, by a casual count, sound like this:
For a goofy kung fu comedian known for supporting animal conservation, LGBTQ rights, and children’s charities, the venom may seem unwarranted. And there’s no arguing that it was an unusually clear day over the capital.
But those on Weibo know why his post roused such hatred. On Chinese social media — where exposing official hypocrisy is a national sport — nothing makes you lose street cred as quickly as shilling for the government, and those on Weibo know that Chan has a history of parroting the Communist Party’s stances on many things (for example, by claiming that Beijing’s air pollution doesn’t exist).
If you think this is all a little hysterical, consider this: there are tens of thousands of ‘five pence’ commentors getting paid to lurk online and spread official propaganda. In Changsha City, the base monthly salary for them is 500 RMB (roughly $80).
Chan’s praise for the air quality in a city infamous for its pollution isn’t even his most outrageous moment. Below are some of Jackie Chan’s most controversial recent rants and antics.
4. On the subject of freedom and democracy in the Chinese-speaking world, he said in 2009:
His off-the-cuff rant at a Hainan film symposium not only garned the hatred of Taiwan citizens and Hong Kong residents, but the contempt of Chinese activists. To them, it recalled former Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Kwan Yew’s argument that dictatorship is part of “Asian Values.”
Freedom of expression is a point of pride among many Hong Kong residents, and the envy of many on the Mainland. Jackie Chan’s anti-protest remark quickly went viral.
7. On Chinese law enforcement:
To be fair, Chan was mostly speaking about the lack of regulation over food safety and media piracy. But in a country where stealing more than $3,000 worth of property can put you on death row, and where the law doles out harsh punishment against ethnic minorities and political dissidents, Chinese netizens were having none of it.
This sign at a June rally in Hong Kong in support of US whistleblower Edward Snowden highlights just how unpopular Jackie Chan is among some Chinese.
9. Photos of a man reported to be Chan using a military licensed car also went viral this March:
While Chan has not identified himself as the man in the photo, many online saw this as a symbol of Chan’s privilege among officials, especially as military-licensed drivers have gotten away with drunk driving and running over pedestrians. On Weibo, taking cellphone photos of military license drivers doing obnoxious things is a perennial sport.