Superstar Jackie Chan usually avoids controversy as nimbly as he dodges flying fists. But when he commented recently on Taiwan's tumultuous presidential election, he executed an unrehearsed pratfall. Talking to reporters in Shanghai, Chan called the election "the biggest joke in the world." In Taiwan, Chan's remarks got supporters of President Chen Shui-bian to stop debating the poll results and focus on savaging Jackie instead. "Old people should retire," vented one furious participant on an Internet bulletin board. "Chan looks limp and wrinkled, lacking proper manners in his 50s." Wrote another: "He's an ignorant person making ignorant comments, and a poor Hong Konger who knows nothing about democracy." Chan's father was a secret agent for the Kuomintang on the mainland pre-1949, and in the past Chan has worked with Beijing, which doesn't much care for Taiwan's election, either.
So far, calls to boycott his films haven't gained traction, but with his box-office draw in decline lately, it might be hard to tell if one was going on.