Jackie Chan, whose given name was Chan Kong-sang, was born in Hong Kong, China.

Chan is a Buddhist,1 but does not talk about his faith, calling into question his level of devotion. But Chan did study Shaolin Kung-Fu,2 which is very closely tied to the Buddhist religion, and Chan has expressed a disappointment with the commercialization of this religious art form.3

East meets West Politics

Generally, if Chan talks about politics, he gets himself into trouble–which may be why he doesn’t talk much about politics.

When he does say something, it seems to be anti-democratic, or at least seems to express a total disenchantment with democratic attempts in East Asia. Chan called the 2004 Taiwan elections “the biggest joke in the world”4 and he commented that the Chinese people were not ready or incapable of governing themselves. He said:

I’m not sure if it’s good to have freedom or not. 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. If we’re not being controlled, we’ll just do what we want.5

Understandably, the comments stirred up quite a bit of controversy.

  1. Jackie Chan. NNDB. []
  2. A Comparison of Martial Art Actors. Jade Dragon. []
  3. Interview with Jackie (Martial Arts Professional Magazine). The Official Website of Jackie Chan. []
  4. “Taiwan elections biggest joke in the world.” China Daily. []
  5. Jackie Chan: Chinese people need to be controlled. Yahoo News. []