Hong Kong martial arts actor Jackie Chan's criticism of supposed US corruption has put him at the center of a controversy recently.
During a talk show last month, Chan responded to netizens' opposition on patriotic remarks he made in the past. Chan refuted this by claiming that China is continuously making progress in tackling corruption, but the US is the most corrupt country in the world. He called his Chinese countrymen to support their home country especially when China is targeted by foreign countries.
As a public figure, Chan is not shy about expressing his political views. He was once quoted as commenting that democracy in Taiwan is the biggest joke in the world and in another occasion stated that Chinese in Taiwan and Hong Kong had too much freedom. But this time, he caused a much bigger uproar by attacking the US, a major market for his action movies.
Chan was dismissively labeled as representing "anti-American" sentiment of China by American journalists and bloggers. He was questioned about how he won his fame and fortune in what he claims to be the most corrupt country, and why the US ranks relatively low on international corruption ratings, especially compared to China.
Chan is quite candid about his political stances, even those that may backfire. On the program, he admitted he couldn't compete with economists and that he had no data or knowledge of the subject, but just said what he saw and believed. There is no sign that Chan had a malicious intent toward US in the program. The unusual reaction from US commentators might be because the remarks came from an actor that was born and raised in a democratic region and has a huge fan base in the US.
And the criticism against Chan on the base that US market has helped his movies grab a fortune is particularly weak.
China is the largest holder of US treasury bonds, but does this make the US less harsh toward its biggest creditor? In the latest US presidential election season, we heard enough China bashing words. But to me the anti-US sentiments in China are no stronger than the anti-China sentiments in the US.
Everyone has the freedom to express his view. Making too big a deal out of Jackie Chan's words may be a sign that many Americans are losing the grace to face different opinions.