Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

Chan condemns Hong Kong protests

Jackie Chan said there should be rules on 'what can and cannot be protested' in Hong Kong (AP)

Jackie Chan has suggested that protests should be restricted in Hong Kong.

The action star lamented that the semi-autonomous Chinese city has become a city of protest, where people "scold China, scold the leaders, scold anything, protest against anything".

"There should be regulations on what can and cannot be protested," Chan told the Southern People Weekly, although he did not say what kinds of protests he thought should be restricted.

The star of movies such as Rush Hour and Rumble In The Bronx triggered a backlash three years ago with similar comments on the need to restrict freedom in his home town.

A former British colony, Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997. Residents are fiercely proud of the Western-style civil liberties they enjoy that are not seen on the mainland, including the freedom to demonstrate.

Chan also reflected in the interview on how different Hong Kong was before 1997. "Hong Kong in the British era was not so free. Did you hear so much gossipy news? Were there so many taking to the streets? No. Very well behaved. The British badly repressed us," he told the magazine.

"We do not like repression. We like freedom. But you cannot do whatever you want."

The city has been the scene lately of a rising number of protests by people upset with Beijing-backed leader Leung Chun-ying, a lack of full democracy and China's growing influence. Tens of thousands of people took to the streets in July to protest after Leung took office.

In 2009, Chan sparked outrage among politicians in Hong Kong when he said: "I'm not sure if it's good to have freedom or not." He also said he was "beginning to feel that we Chinese need to be controlled".

When asked by reporters about the comments, Chan said: "I respect everyone's opinion and others should respect mine." He added that he did not want to comment about the interview any more, but added: "I will comment on politics in the future if I feel like it, because that's just the way I am."

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