|Action star Jackie Chan told a conference of business leaders on Saturday that 'Chinese need to be controlled'
Ben Child and agencies
Speaking up ... Jackie Chan. Photograph: Kin Cheung/AP
Jackie Chan's endorsement of China's strict censorship policy and media controls at a conference of business leaders at the weekend has prompted outrage among lawmakers in Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Speaking at the Boao Economic Forum on the southern Chinese island of Hainan on Saturday, Chan, who was born in Hong Kong, cited the territory as an example of the negative aspects of relaxed controls. "I'm not sure if it's good to have freedom or not," the 55-year-old action superstar told delegates when pressed by fellow panel members to give his views on China's rigorous controls on the media and restrictions on film-makers.
"I'm really confused now. If you're too free, you're like the way Hong Kong is now. It's very chaotic. Taiwan is also chaotic.
"I'm gradually beginning to feel that we Chinese need to be controlled," he continued. "If we're not being controlled, we'll just do what we want."
The comments were met with approval at the high-profile annual conference, which was attended by the Chinese premier, Wen Jiabao, but have drawn the condemnation of lawmakers in Taiwan and Hong Kong.
"He's insulted the Chinese people," Hong Kong legislator Leung Kwok-hung said. "Chinese people aren't pets."
"He himself has enjoyed freedom and democracy and has reaped the economic benefits of capitalism. But he has yet to grasp the true meaning of freedom and democracy," Taiwanese legislator Huang Wei-cher said.
Chan has increasingly taken a pro-Beijing line in recent years, and performed in both the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics. He is also vice-chairman of the powerful China Film Association, which organises the mainland's main movie awards.