Daily Archives: January 12, 2013

Jackie Chan’s Foot In Mouth Disease

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Jackie Chan has now called the U.S. “the most corrupt [country] in the world.”  Here’s the translation of an interview he did on Chinese TV in December – apparently now it’s been translated into English and widely disseminated; an editorial about this appeared in the Washington Post just two days ago.

Jackie Chan: The New China. The real success has been made in the past dozen of years. Our country’s president also admits they have the corruption problem, and some other stuff, but we are making progress. What I can see is our country is continuously making progress and learning. If you talk about corruption, the entire world, the United State, has no corruption?

Host: America.

Chan: The most corrupt in the world.

Host: Really?

Chan: Of course. Where does this Great Breakdown [financial crisis] come from? It started exactly from the world, the United States. When I was interviewed in the U.S., people asked me, I said the same thing. I said now that China has become strong, everyone is making an issue of China. If our own countrymen don’t support our country, who will support our country? We know our country has many problems. We [can] talk about it when the door is closed. To outsiders, [we should say] “our country is the best.”

Host: So he can’t get enough of his more than 20 ambassador titles. I think the Ministry of Foreign Affairs should ask him to be the ambassador to the United States.

Chan: Seriously, I am always like, when the door is closed, “Our country is like this and this. Who and who is not good.” But outside, “Our country is the best, like so and so, is the best.” You cannot say our country has problems [when you are outside], like “Yes, our country is bad.”

I’m not going to comment further; I think this speaks for itself.  Though you may find the rest of the WashPo editorial interesting.

Chan’s comments, though widely disparaged on Chinese social media, do reflect a certain strain of anti-Americanism that is particular to some elements of China. Like his criticism of Taiwanese and Hong Kong democracy, it’s as much about defending China. And that defensiveness is often more about internal Chinese doubts about their country’s progress, which has come so far but still has a ways to go. The flip side of Chinese nationalism, which has risen along with China itself, is often a sense of national insecurity.

This aspect of Chinese nationalism has seemed to peak at moments when China comes under more international criticism, as Beijing-based journalist Helen Gao wrote in a great piece about the anti-Japanese protests from this past summer. In many ways, Gao argued, such outbursts are less about lashing out against critics than a manifestation of ”the Chinese public’s struggle to reconcile the frustrating social realities surrounding them with the lofty patriotic ideals they have long internalized.”

Speaking of lofty patriotic ideals, China’s first masturbation contest was held in a small town near Shenzhen last month.  The contest, sponsored by a sex toy manufacturer, was ostensibly done to raise AIDS prevention awareness.  Seven guys showed up, covered their faces with masks, covered their balls with a red bowl and yanked it while listening to Jackie Chan speeches looking at sex toys and models in swimsuits.  Last one to come won first prize, whatever that was.

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Full story, along with many more photos and a video, can be found at Ministry of Tofu.

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