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Jackie Chan's remarks against Hong Kong protests draw flak

Press Trust of India  |  Beijing 

Hong Kong-based Hollywood movie star Jackie Chan who is also a member of China's advisory legislative body has waded into a controversy with remarks critical of pro-democracy protests in which drew sharp reactions.

In a post on his Weibo microblogging account, Chan called on everyone involved in the protests to "work together, return to reason, face the future, love the country, love our Hong Kong".

"I read the that economic losses in are up to 350 billion. This makes me really anxious. I believe that all people love Hong Kong," he said.

Chan, a member of China's Chinese People's Political Consultative Committee (CPPCC), was also in the recently after his son Jaycee Chan was arrested in in a drug-related case.

In his remarks, Chan also quoted the lyrics of the song he sang in 2009 for the 60th anniversary which read "Can there be a prosperous home without a powerful country?"

While his remarks went down well in China, where the official media carried a massive criticism of the protests , the reaction in Hong Kong was less positive where the protests have escalated following the government's cancellation of talks with the protesters.

The protesters who have occupied central locations in Hong Kogn for over 10 days are demanding an open election for the Chief Executive post in 2017 while doing away with a China-backed selection committee to vet candidates.

The pro-democracy Apple Daily drew a connection between Chan speaking out and the arrest of his son on drug possession charges.

Internet users were also suspicious of the timing.

"How much was your son's sentence commuted for this?" one asked in a post on Weibo, according to Taiwan's Liberty Times, which was later deleted, a newspaper report said.

Others pointed out the irony of Chan seeking to lecture anyone on keeping their house in order, quoting a Chinese proverb that says "to govern a country, one should first be able to govern one's family".

"You should be taking care of your son who is in prison right now instead of commenting on Hong Kong," an annoyed user wrote on Facebook.

This would not be the first time Chan has caused controversy in the city of his birth. In 2012, he was roundly condemned after he suggested that Hong Kong was a "city of protest" where the right to demonstrate should be limited.

"People scold China's leaders, or anything else they like, and protest against everything. The authorities should stipulate what issues people can protest over and on what issues it is not allowed," Chan had said in an interview.

First Published: Fri, October 10 2014. 18:45 IST