Sentence of the Week: Control Chinese People

The  comes from China Digital Space’s Grass-Mud Horse Lexicon, a glossary of terms created by Chinese netizens and frequently encountered in online political discussions. These are the words of China’s online “resistance discourse,” used to mock and subvert the official language around and political correctness.

Jack Chan.

Jack Chan.

中国人需要管的。 (Zhōngguórén xūyào guǎn de.): “Chinese people need to be controlled.”

Infamous statement by movie star during a discussion of censorship, movies, and society at the 2009 Boao Forum for Asia:

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.

The comment set off a firestorm of discussion and criticism, especially in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Even mainland newspapers felt obliged to criticize Chan. The state-run People’s Daily accused Jackie Chan of wishing to deprive the Chinese of their extensive liberties [zh] and to subject them to an oppressive regime.

Chan’s statement may be translated more mildly as“Chinese people need to be managed.” But Chan has a history of making controversial political statements. He has previously claimed that Chinese culture may not be compatible with , and called for restrictions on protests in Hong Kong. In early 2013, he claimed that America was the “most corrupt country in the world.”

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