Hong Kong movie star Jackie Chan has long been known to harbor authoritarian and anti-free speech views. Now, the action movie star is calling for other artists to be arrested for art that is deemed insulting to China, particularly in advancing favorable images of the Japanese. Chan and his 37 other members of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference called on then government to punish fellow artists who insult “national integrity and dignity.” The call follows Chinese artists who wee criticized for showing the Japanese in World War II in a positive light. This by the way was part of the propaganda issued by the U.S. government against the Japanese. The racist elements are quite evident and shocking. Hollywood was a critical part in our propaganda efforts during the war. Now, over 50 years later, Chan and other artists and authors however are seeking to criminalize speech that is viewed as sympathetic or favorable to the Japanese.
Chan wants the government to round up those who are viewed as creating art deemed as advocating “Japanese militarism, fascism, and Bushido spirit.”
If an international artist calling for the arrest of other artists is shocking, so is an academic. Nanjing University history professor and signatory He Yunao made the nonsensical argument that “A nation has integrity just like a person. Citizens enjoy legal rights to personal integrity, and states and nations also have rights to integrity.” This ignores that the state is the subject of free speech not the beneficiary of free speech. Otherwise, if the state has free speech rights to be balanced against individual rights, there is little real free speech left in the balancing.
Whether it is an academic or an actor, the call for the criminalization of artistic and political expression is a disgrace against their respective professions.