China enlists Jackie Chan to kick off political meeting
BEIJING (AFP) – Film star Jackie Chan joined other celebrities Sunday at a meeting of China’s highest-profile advisory body, a move seen by analysts as an attempt by the ruling Communist Party to cultivate “soft power”.
Nobel literature prizewinner Mo Yan and basketball star Yao Ming also attended the annual meeting of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), organised by the party.
The Hong Kong actor’s participation in the meeting, as one of 2,000 delegates making suggestions to China’s government, has been strongly criticised by some in his native city.
The martial arts star provoked a furious fight-back last December after reportedly suggesting that protests in Hong Kong should be restricted. In 2009 he landed in hot water for telling a forum that “we Chinese need to be controlled”.
The 58-year-old, famous in the West for the “Rush Hour” series and “Police Story”, kept a low profile outside the meeting.
“I have no way of speaking now, we don’t have enough time to elaborate,” he told a scrum of reporters opposite Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, topped by clear blue skies after heavy smog which has blighted the capital in recent months.