- by Valentin Cartillier
- The Guardian
- Issue #1971
During a recent forum hosted in Beijing, action movie star, director, and martial artist Jackie Chan expressed his interest in joining the Communist Party of China (CPC). Chan has starred in over 150 films, having started his acting career in the 60s and continuing to this day. A Hong Kong native, Chan has gained enormous international recognition over his career.
Chan was at a forum hosted by Chinese film insiders to comment on the recent centenary of the CPC and the speech delivered by Xi Jinping, the President of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and General Secretary of the CPC. For more details on the 100th anniversary celebrations see Guardian “The Communist Party Of China celebrates 100 years – for good reason” #1969.
Chan sang in the theatrical performance Epic Journey in a celebration this year, which celebrated the centennial of the CPC. The performance is a dramatisation of staged the War of Resistance, fought by the Eighth Route Army, the military force under the command of the CPC who fought against, and eventually overcame, Japanese imperialism from 1937-1945. Chan stated his admiration for the resilience and fortitude of the fighters and his admiration of the progress the CPC has made for the Chinese people over the course of its history and expressed optimism for its future, saying that:
“I can see the greatness of the CPC, and it will deliver what it says, and what it promises in less than 100 years, but only a few decades […]. I want to become a CPC member.”
While initially seeming like quite a surprising statement, Chan has been in favour of the CPC for quite some time. Since 2013, he has been serving in the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, which is a political advisory body in the PRC and a foundational part of the CPC’s United Front system. Ever since the 1997 handover of Hong Kong from the United Kingdom to China, Chan’s politics have shifted towards a pro-Beijing stance as he has recognised the advances that the PRC has brought to the region. He was also critical of the Hong Kong protests in 2012.
Chan has quite a unique perspective given his international fame and heavy involvement with the film industries of both Hollywood and China. Not only has he starred in numerous Hollywood blockbusters, but he is also the vice-chairman of the China Film Association. In 2012, during an interview with Phoenix TV, he stated that the United States was the “most corrupt” country in the world. While he has undoubtedly profited from the American film industry, being in such close proximity to it and having the ability to compare it with the Chinese film industry lends this comment quite a bit of weight.
Socialist countries are often stereotyped as bland, monotonous places with a total uniformity when it comes to the arts. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Socialist countries have vibrant and diverse histories of the arts, whether it be film, music, painting, etc. The innovative potential that is able to flourish in socialist societies expresses the creative capacities of the people.