This is a transcript of the interview that people have been having a field day with reporting on left and right, getting wrong, and generally taking out of context. First of all, keep in mind this was all in response to a question about film regulation in China. Second, remember that in Jackie Chan’s perspective, Taiwan/Hong Kong/Singapore = ethnically mostly Chinese, so it has nothing with racism.
JC: Actually, China has been constantly changing since the ten years I’ve been here. The freedom is much greater, and don’t forget that we’ve only been a “country” for 60 years. Among large countries, we’re really a small country. We have 5000 years of history, but our new country is only 60-years-old, which is hard to compare with many other countries.
In these ten years -I grew up in Hong Kong- I slowly felt, I don’t know how much freedom we should have. Too much freedom and we’ll be like Hong Kong right now, very messy. Or become like Taiwan, also very messy.
I slowly feel like we Chinese needs to control [note that he says “yao guan/should control/needs to control,” not “yao bei guan/should be controlled”]
If we don’t control things, we’ll do things as we wish. Why can’t I eat gum in Singapore? You realize that it’s good to not being allowed to eat gum. If I give you gum, some people might take the gum and stick it on tables, put it on chairs without self-respect. Lots of people can’t respect themselves like many do in the US and Japan. When you’re disrespecting yourself, we’ll control you.If I give you complete freedom, let you do what you want, but now, many people wrongly use their freedoms, artistic freedom, human rights.
Since I’ve returned, the movie screening process has been much better. I believe that ten years later, it’ll be even better. I think China- I can’t represent China, but I feel that our country has been continuously learning, continuously learning from the outside. We have so many conferences and [unclear], it’s all to learn more. I believe China will be better and better.
[here’s another question from a reporter that I can’t find but I believe it is probably regarding the movie regulations imposed by SARFT, and possibly about Shinjuku Incident, his financed movie whose director decided waiting for SARFT to make a decision on was too long and decided to screen just in HK]
JC: I want to say that in Hong Kong, I was in the film industry, and it really was chaotic. They’ll have a story today, film tomorrow, and finish production the day after. So many terrible films that you can’t even finish. Why would Hong Kong let such films be shown even when they are so terrible? Every country has their own regulations. In the US, if I ignore the red lights the police will catch me. You have to follow that country’s laws. In Vietnam, you have to follow Vietnam’s laws. In Singapore, you have to follow Singapore’s laws. In China, you might litter, but if you do that in Singapore, you’ll go to jail. So if you’re coming to China to film movies, you have to follow Chinese regulations. That’s the rule of the game.
Some comments added in by Cfensi:
First of all, I’d like to thank and ask everyone to thank idarklight for taking the initiative to find the video and transcribe this, while she was out of town and taking a break from working on Cfensi. If only paid reporters would take such care in hunting down the facts first.
Secondly, I’d just like to point out that this is simply a verbal continuation of something that’s been going on with Jackie for a while now. For the past two years, he’s been diving into projects like crazy and I honestly believe it’s because he knows his time is short and wants to leave a legacy behind, and a better China. Shinjuku Incident, a movie where he played an immigrant in Japan was meant to show that “the grass is not greener on the other side”, a mentality that still many in China have. He financed the movie Wu Shu and that Descendents of the Dragon (Long de Chuan Ren) reality show because he wants new action stars that can take his place. He’s talked about making a movie about his parents, and is currently making Big Soldier Small General (whose script he wrote) because these were both dream projects of his and he may not have much time to do them.
And as for this, perhaps he’s speaking out because he sees China’s potential in movies and wants China to achieve that potential faster, like director Feng Xiaogang and the countless others who wants proactive-ness on the part of the Chinese government and investors in building this industry. Keep in mind he’s speaking to businessman, potential investors in movies, who want to know what his stands are on the film industry in China. Can it flourish with regulation? Perhaps he sees something in giving a budding movie industry with so much potential some restriction and wants to ease their minds. All I know is let’s not taunt a man who wants progress and is trying to articulate that, even if he hasn’t achieved perfection in eloquence just yet.