Apr 19

David Brooks at the New York Times wrote a column more than a year ago, “The Dictatorship of Talent”. He characterized the Chinese political system as a form of “meritocratic paternalism”. Continue reading »

Apr 19

Jackie Chan: Chinese People Need To Be Controlled

Action star Jackie Chan said Saturday he’s not sure if a free society is a good thing for China and that he’s starting to think “we Chinese need to be controlled.”

Chan’s comments drew applause from a predominantly Chinese audience of business leaders in China’s southern island province of Hainan.

I have often thought that actors should stay out of politics, though as everyone is entitled to their view this was a useful way of addressing something I’ve noticed in the past. It seems to me that rich Chinese can be quick to assert similar sentiments. Certainly the article mentioned that the business leaders applauded him on that point.

If all Chinese were incapable of making decisions no Chinese person could be a politician and China would be run by foreigners, so he must think some Chinese can be in control. Thus I suspect what people like Chan actually mean when they say these things, but could never say because they would be ripped to shreds, is “people with lots of money like me can act sensibly but the majority of Chinese are too dumb to make the right decisions”.

Chan added: “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.”

So Chan thinks that currently Chinese are not doing what they want to do? Is their sense of freedom really just an illusion? This seems like a highly controversial statement to me.

What are your thoughts on these comments and more widely how poor, middle class and wealthy Chinese see this subject?