Epic Post 3: What Jackie Chan Was Really Talking About

"I slowly feel like we Chinese needs to control [note that he says "yao guan/should control/needs to control," not "yao bei guan/should be controlled")This is a transcript of the interview that people have been having a field day with reporting on left and right, getting wrong, and generally taking out of context. First of all, keep in mind this was all in response to a question about film regulation in China. Second, remember that in Jackie Chan’s perspective, Taiwan/Hong Kong/Singapore = ethnically mostly Chinese, so it has nothing with racism.

JC: Actually, China has been constantly changing since the ten years I’ve been here. The freedom is much greater, and don’t forget that we’ve only been a “country” for 60 years. Among large countries, we’re really a small country. We have 5000 years of history, but our new country is only 60-years-old, which is hard to compare with many other countries.

In these ten years -I grew up in Hong Kong- I slowly felt, I don’t know how much freedom we should have. Too much freedom and we’ll be like Hong Kong right now, very messy. Or become like Taiwan, also very messy.

I slowly feel like we Chinese needs to control [note that he says “yao guan/should control/needs to control,” not “yao bei guan/should be controlled”]

If we don’t control things, we’ll do things as we wish. Why can’t I eat gum in Singapore? You realize that it’s good to not being allowed to eat gum. If I give you gum, some people might take the gum and stick it on tables, put it on chairs without self-respect. Lots of people can’t respect themselves like many do in the US and Japan. When you’re disrespecting yourself, we’ll control you.If I give you complete freedom, let you do what you want, but now, many people wrongly use their freedoms, artistic freedom, human rights.

Since I’ve returned, the movie screening process has been much better. I believe that ten years later, it’ll be even better. I think China- I can’t represent China, but I feel that our country has been continuously learning, continuously learning from the outside. We have so many conferences and [unclear], it’s all to learn more. I believe China will be better and better.

[here’s another question from a reporter that I can’t find but I believe it is probably regarding the movie regulations imposed by SARFT, and possibly about Shinjuku Incident, his financed movie whose director decided waiting for SARFT to make a decision on was too long and decided to screen just in HK]

JC: I want to say that in Hong Kong, I was in the film industry, and it really was chaotic. They’ll have a story today, film tomorrow, and finish production the day after. So many terrible films that you can’t even finish. Why would Hong Kong let such films be shown even when they are so terrible? Every country has their own regulations. In the US, if I ignore the red lights the police will catch me. You have to follow that country’s laws. In Vietnam, you have to follow Vietnam’s laws. In Singapore, you have to follow Singapore’s laws. In China, you might litter, but if you do that in Singapore, you’ll go to jail. So if you’re coming to China to film movies, you have to follow Chinese regulations. That’s the rule of the game.

Some comments added in by Cfensi:

First of all, I’d like to thank and ask everyone to thank idarklight for taking the initiative to find the video and transcribe this, while she was out of town and taking a break from working on Cfensi. If only paid reporters would take such care in hunting down the facts first.

Secondly, I’d just like to point out that this is simply a verbal continuation of something that’s been going on with Jackie for a while now. For the past two years, he’s been diving into projects like crazy and I honestly believe it’s because he knows his time is short and wants to leave a legacy behind, and a better China. Shinjuku Incident, a movie where he played an immigrant in Japan was meant to show that “the grass is not greener on the other side”, a mentality that still many in China have. He financed the movie Wu Shu and that Descendents of the Dragon (Long de Chuan Ren) reality show because he wants new action stars that can take his place. He’s talked about making a movie about his parents, and is currently making Big Soldier Small General (whose script he wrote) because these were both dream projects of his and he may not have much time to do them.

And as for this, perhaps he’s speaking out because he sees China’s potential in movies and wants China to achieve that potential faster, like director Feng Xiaogang and the countless others who wants proactive-ness on the part of the Chinese government and investors in building this industry. Keep in mind he’s speaking to businessman, potential investors in movies, who want to know what his stands are on the film industry in China. Can it flourish with regulation? Perhaps he sees something in giving a budding movie industry with so much potential some restriction and wants to ease their minds. All I know is let’s not taunt a man who wants progress and is trying to articulate that, even if he hasn’t achieved perfection in eloquence just yet.

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15 thoughts on “Epic Post 3: What Jackie Chan Was Really Talking About

  1. He wants to share his opinion and i think he’s right!!!!!Hats off Jackie and you’re always the best and a all rounder!!!!!!!You’re simply great!!!x)

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  3. Key paragraph is here:

    “If we don’t control things, we’ll do things as we wish. Why can’t I eat gum in Singapore? You realize that it’s good to not being allowed to eat gum. If I give you gum, some people might take the gum and stick it on tables, put it on chairs without self-respect. Lots of people can’t respect themselves like many do in the US and Japan. When you’re disrespecting yourself, we’ll control you.If I give you complete freedom, let you do what you want, but now, many people wrongly use their freedoms, artistic freedom, human rights.”

    He sets the parameters for what he means by ‘control’. Most of the news reports seem to allude to democracy for some reason.

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  5. Actually it is nonsense that Jackie hasn’t supported pro-democracy movements. I have seen footage on youtube of him singing at and supporting a pro-democracy rally. Didn’t understand a word of the Chinese but the banners are in English. I presume this wasn’t an isolated incident.

  6. He does make a good point. Singapore is a “controlled” nation and for the better, but as for Chinese filmmaking – IMO it still needs to be more free. At the moment, it still too restricted, to the point that its hurting the industry’s creative sectors, sapping the chances of China making a variety of genre movies. Also, catering to western audiences = big budget wuxias 24/7.

  7. Is that the case? I’m sorry, the first place I actually read about this was Yahoo!espanol (due to the way my mail inbox is setup) and then read the English Yahoo version (exactly the same as the Spanish one), which was horridly biased. I’ve hated the way Yahoo in English works, because they filter out most Chinese friendly articles. I’ve read articles daily from Yahoo for the last five years, and they’ve always, always been ridiculously biased.

    But I will not apologize for finger pointing at Western Media, because like with the Lip-synching article, many times they get things wrong because they don’t know Chinese, and will propagate false information easily without fact-checking, and that is definitely the case here. And Yahoo news definitely twisted it into a political thing when they included this crap:

    “The kung fu star has not been a vocal supporter of the pro-democracy movement in his hometown of Hong Kong. Since the former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997, voters have not been allowed to directly elect their leader. Several massive street protests have been held to demand full democracy, but Beijing has repeatedly said Hong Kong isn’t ready for it.”

    It seems everytime they talk about anything related to China, they have to give the same history lesson over and over that leaves out convenient facts, like the fact that under British rule HK had no democracy either. It’s infuriating seeing this kind of crap every single time in Western Media.

    You’re right though, all the media seemed to have a field day with this particular report including Asian newspapers, where it hit a nerve. And HK media is no angel.

    Edit: I took out the last paragraph, since I don’t want to imply anything you didn’t want to imply, since this was your work.

  8. I think it’s unfair to blame this on the Western media. The Hong Kong media was the first one to “report” this. I’ve looked through the older news reports, and while most reports of the story were titled “Jackie Chan on supporting Chinese products (this was the actual speech he gave that day. I can’t find a copy of it, but it seems like all the “insulting” remarks were taken from this Q&A section), the other ones say that a HK paper was the first to use this as headlines. It was then basically taken by everyone who didn’t bother to find out what he really said before blindly bashing him.

    I couldn’t even find a Chinese transcript of this thing, and not a single Chinese newspaper that includes the actual transcript of the response (though there were a few that stated it was a misconception and Jackie Chan was not talking about people). What really made me mad was that most video reports had cut out the two comments about control and only showed those two only, which means they obviously had the full video available but did not show them to the audience.

  9. thanks for that, i always thought jc was quite level headed, like is comments on the beijing olympics were very reasonable, i couldn’t believe he would say anything like what has been implied. this should be posted on some other sites. would also love to hunt down whoever wrote the original article. hope they get fired. wish jane mccartney would get fired too, but her $%^5 sells.

  10. I wasn’t really aware of what Jackie had said but I just knew there was some hullabaloo going about. It was just a miscommunication/misunderstanding!

  11. I was wondering how it was possible Jackie would have lets such things come out of his mouth. (I didn’t think I was possible) He didn’t insult anyone here at all. He still has my respect. Shame on the people jumping to conclusions.

  12. I knew the whole thing had been taken out of context lol, now I want to go shoot the person who posted those other articles right now. Jackie is still awesome.

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