Jackie Chan will not be attending a planned visit to Vietnam to promote a children’s charity in the face of growing public anger over his pro-Chinese government stance.
The move comes following previous controversies over Chan’s parenting abilities in recent months.
Opponents on social media claimed he had shown support for China’s bid to grab territory in the South China Sea, as well as a lack of support for pro-democracy demonstrators in his home town, and said the fact that he had refused to recognise his own daughter made him unfit to represent a children’s charity.
In an interview in August, Chan described the democratic protests as “sad and depressing” and added: “I am a national flag guard”, referring to his support for the five-star red flag of China.
Chan’s comments did not go down well with Hong Kong social media users, who angrily replied to a tweet containing a video clip of his interview.
“Hong Kong hates you,” wrote the pro-democracy Twitter account Hong Kong World City.
Chan sparked a similar outcry when he called Hong Kong a “city of protest” during an interview in 2012, saying: “The authorities should stipulate what issues people can protest over and on what issues it is not allowed.”
The decision to not attend the event in Vietnam follows the widespread sharing of images showing his face with a Red Cross marked over the top. He was supposed to appear on 10th November for the Operation Smile Vietnam (OSV) 30th anniversary event.
The organisation helps Vietnamese children who have suffered facial deformities. But thousands of people bombarded the charity’s official page with complaints forcing it to be cancelled.
Nguyen Viet Phuong, Chief Representative of OSV, said in a statement that the organisation had no experience in expressing any political views, and always appreciated direct support from organisations and individuals. They also tried to downplay the cancellation, saying that despite the posters advertising his presence he actually never had any concrete plans to take part.
Chan’s daughter, Etta Ng Chok Lam, was born after Chan had an extramarital affair with Miss Asia in 1990 Elaine Ng Yi-Lei, 46, but he never met his daughter and described her as a “fault that many men in the world commit”.
The 19-year-old claims that she “does not know” her father and that her surname “has never been Chan”.
Chok Lam and Canadian social media influencer Andi Autumn started dating last year and they moved to Canada in October 2017. They now reportedly live in Hong Kong.
Etta released a viral video earlier this year where she said that Andi’s “homophobic” parents were causing them to become homeless.
At the time, her actress mother criticised the statement, saying: “If they have no money, they should go and find work. They should not release a video telling everyone that they have no money and who her father is.
“All over the world people work hard and do not rely on someone else’s fame to acquire money.”
According to Ng’s mother, her daughter has however never seen “a single cent” from Chan who is reportedly worth upwards of 350 million USD (273 million GBP).
Facebook commentator ‘Le Mai’ said: “I appreciate what OSV has done and I want the organisation to develop. But I object to a man who supports the nine-dash line and abandoned his daughter, he can’t be OSV’s ambassador.”
Online user ‘Joseph Nguyen’ wrote: “He doesn’t even care for his own daughter. He abandoned her, how can he love other children?????” and another online user, ‘Micheal Mai Khoi’, said: “The campaign of OSV is meaningful, but the ambassador is vile.”
Jackie Chan is famous for films like Rush Hour series and despite being from Hong Kong, has Beijing loyalist views and has failed to back the democracy movement.
The 65-year-old is a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference which is a Beijing-based body that mostly consists of people from the Chinese Communist Party.
While his fellow Hong Kong martial arts icon Bruce Lee has become a symbol for young demonstrators in defiance of China’s shelved extradition law, Chan feigned ignorance of their historic marches when asked in June.
He said at the time when questioned about it during a visit to Taiwan: “I only found out yesterday there was a big march in Hong Kong. I don’t know anything about it.”
The statement was made despite the fact that there were pictures of 2 million marchers that had taken to the street that was widely seen on news channels around the world.
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