Jackie Chan has long been one of Hong Kong’s celebrities who most frequently and prominently engages in propaganda efforts for the mainland’s ruling Communist Party, but he recently took his public devotion to the Chinese regime to a new level.
Chan declared his admiration for the Party at a symposium organized by the China Film Association last week to “study and implement the spirit” of a keynote speech delivered by Chinese President Xi Jinping.
“Abroad they often say, ‘proud to be Chinese.’ I’m very lucky to be a Chinese person, but I also am very jealous that you all are Party members. I just think the Chinese Communist Party is really so magnificent,” he said, according to video footage from official broadcaster CCTV. “What the Party says, what it promises, it doesn’t need 100 years to accomplish — it will definitely accomplish it in just a few decades. I want to be a Party member!”
His declaration was followed by a strong round of applause.
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Xi’s hourlong address, delivered on July 1, marked the 100th anniversary of the Party’s founding with hardline talk about China’s rise, including the message that the country will no longer be “bullied” by other countries, and that anyone attempting to do so would “bash their heads bloody against a Great Wall of steel.”
Earlier this month, Chan participated center stage in an enormous propaganda spectacle event put on by the Party at Beijing’s 91,000-capacity Bird’s Nest national stadium, best known abroad as the location of the 2008 Olympics opening ceremony.
In the star-studded show released on the July 1 anniversary via state broadcaster CCTV, Chan sang a part of the “Yellow River Cantata,” a classic patriotic work composed during the Second Sino-Japanese War.
The Hong Kong actor joined forces with Taiwanese signer Angela Chang and Liu Naiqi, a tenor from Macau, to sing: “Defend your hometown, defend the Yellow River… defend all of China!” They were accompanied by thousands of performers dressed as soldiers from the Eighth Route Army, a military group under Communist Party command during that conflict in the late ’30s and ’40s.
The performance took place the same day that scores of people in his native Hong Kong were arrested to prevent demonstrations against the Party’s increasing control over the territory.
Speaking a week after the performance’s release at the July 8 China Film Association meeting, Chan said he admired the Eighth Route Army’s verve.
“Those soldiers faced down machine guns while wearing straw sandals and using single-shot pistols, and confronted their advanced weaponry with swords and spears. I think the Eight Route Army of our Communist Party is truly amazing!”