Jackie Chan not welcome in Vietnam, say angry netizens

By Long Nguyen   November 7, 2019 | 08:31 pm PT
Jackie Chan not welcome in Vietnam, say angry netizens
Actor Jackie Chan.Photo by Reuters/Lucy Nicholson.
Actor Jackie Chan's planned visit to Vietnam has been canceled following a public opposition related to China’s fraudulent 9-dash East Sea line.

A spate of Vietnamese social media users have shared a poster with Jackie Chan's portrait crossed with red X mark to express their anger with a Hanoi event featuring the Hong Kong actor.

He was scheduled to join an November 10 event celebrating the 30th anniversary of Operation Smile Vietnam (OSV), which supports Vietnamese children with facial deformities. But the plans were canceled after thousands of angry netizens flooded the charity's official page.

Some of their comments claimed Jackie Chan had spoken in support of China's nine-dash line. However, he has not explicitly expressed public support for the controversial maritime assertion, according to AFP.

"I appreciate what OSV has done and I want the organization to develop. But I object to a man who supports the nine-dash line and abandoned his daughter, he can't be OSV's ambassador," commented Le Mai, a Facebooker.

"The campaign of OSV is meaningful, but the ambassador is vile," said Micheal Mai Khoi, a netizen.

Many other Vietnamese netizens also opined that the Chinese actor was not a suitable invitee for any events in Vietnam anymore, and that OSV should review its decision to invite him.

A myriad of them have persisted in expressing their anger at the visit of the actor "who refused to provide for his estranged daughter and now works with an organization for children."

The social media backlash prompted OSV to remove the poster with Jackie Chan's portrait on its Facebook page on Thursday.

However, a photo of the actor with a caption "Jackie Chan - International Actor, Kungfu Master, Smile Ambassador will be joining hundreds of medical professionals and volunteers to celebrate the organization's 30 years of serving children and families in Vietnam in November" is still on the page.

The same day, Nguyen Viet Phuong, Chief Representative of OSV, told local media that the organization has helped a lot of people in the last three decades with Jackie Chan as an ambassador since 1994. "He visited Vietnam in 2009 to join an OSV program, bringing happiness to numerous patients and their families. We appreciate it."

OSV only wants to focus on improving people's lives and has "no experience in expressing political views," Phuong said, adding that "the organization always respects all the direct support from all organizations and individuals."

In an update Friday, OSV said that they had "adjusted the presence" of their ambassadors, including Jackie Chan, on their social media page to avoid misunderstandings and meet the principles of a non-profit and non-governmental organization.

"...Jackie Chan did not have any detailed plan to join the 30th anniversary of OSV," the organization said, after removing all photos of the actor on its Facebook page. It said: "As a charity organization aiming to help children, we are sorry that the incident generated inaccurate information affecting public opinion."

Ngo Toan Thang, deputy spokesperson of Vietnam's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that the ministry was not aware of opposition to Jackie Chan's activities in Hanoi.

"Vietnam has full legal basis and historical evidence to assert its sovereignty over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa islands in Vietnamese waters," the deputy spokesperson added. "The U-shaped line, or nine-dash line is an illustration of China's illegal claim on the East Sea."

Hoang Sa and Truong Sa are internationally known as Paracel and Spratly islands respectively.

China’s nine-dash line is a demarcation that claims 90 percent of the 3.5-million-square-kilometer East Sea, known internationally as South China Sea. The unilateral demarcation has been strongly opposed by the international community. Apart from violating Vietnam's sovereignty, it overlaps with claims by Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines.

On October 28 Vietnam demoted its director of the Cinema Department at the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism for letting the Hollywood-produced animation movie "Abominable" carrying the line to be screened in Vietnam.

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