Saturday, April 25, 2009

"Chinese People Need to be Controlled" (Part 2)

Here is some of the backlash regarding Jackie Chan's comments:
  • "He's insulted the Chinese people. Chinese people aren't pets," pro-democracy Hong Kong legislator Leung Kwok-hung told The Associated Press in a phone interview. "Chinese society needs a democratic system to protect human rights and rule of law."
  • "His comments are racist. People around the world are running their own countries. Why can't Chinese do the same?" another Hong Kong lawmaker, Albert Ho, told the AP.
  • "He himself has enjoyed freedom and democracy and has reaped the economic benefits of capitalism. But he has yet to grasp the true meaning of freedom and democracy," Taiwanese legislator Huang Wei-che said. (Associated Press)
  • “It’s easy to sacrifice freedom when you’re treated like a V.I.P. or some high-level official every time you come to China,” said Hu Xingdou, an economics professor at the Beijing Institute of Technology. “I’m sure Jackie Chan has never thought about the suffering of the little people who have no power.” (NY Times)
A few other commentators are also taking a crack at this situation, including John Pomfret, and there's a running debate at the New York Times with Gordon Chang and Russell Leigh Moses.

By the way, Yuan Xiang and Wai Kit, you don't get to walk away chuckling. Apparently the comments are not just about Hong Kong and Taiwan:

"Jackie Chan: Singaporeans have no self-respect" (AsiaOne News)

"Jackie Chan slams S'poreans" (Straits Times)

1 comment:

  1. Wow this is interesting stuff. Thanks for posting, Kevin!I read the articles on AP and NYT, and I think people are taking his words out of context. Apparently Chinese people demand democracy and people in HK and Taiwan are striving for it. Yet it would be nearly impossible for China to embrace democracy in short-term. The country has long been controlled by single party and implementing democracy would be a gradual process. As globalization prevails, our generation will bring Western philosophy back to China. I might be too naive , but I do believe that things will change when our generation or next generation takes over.

    On the other hand, Jackie Chan's comments make sense to me to some extent. The central government needs to have control to some degree. This might be far-fetched but if we look at the current financial turmoil, many problems were caused by lack of regulation, namely "control". It would be the same case for governing a country. Something interesting to digest. Back in late 2008, the U.S gov was busy restricting short-selling in the financial markets, while the Chinese gov decided to relax short-selling/buying, granting ordinary investors more freedom.

    The bottomline is that modest control is essential to prevent undesired behaviors. Given its history, development, and culture, China cannot turn democratic overnight.

    Feel free to criticize my opinions.