Hongkongers Question Petition Signed by Local Celebrities to Support Beijing’s Security Law

June 5, 2020 Updated: June 5, 2020

Since China’s rubber-stamp legislature passed the Hong Kong national security law, protests and countermeasures have been heard and issued around the world. However, a petition in support of the security law was circulated on the internet on May 29. Netizens question the veracity of the petition purportedly signed by local celebrities. Hong Kong martial artist and Hollywood film director Jackie Chan signed the petition. And it also included the names of deceased celebrities.

Protesters took to the streets after Beijing enacted the national security law for Hong Kong. On May 28, a joint statement to denounce the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s actions to destroy freedom, democracy and rule of law in Hong Kong under the “one country, two systems” was supported by a group of local artists. More than 1,000 people have signed the joint statement, and a press conference was held to voice their opposition to the national security law. Signatories include musician Adrian Chow, singers Anthony Wong and Denise Ho, Hong Kong film director Kenneth Ip, and columnist Tang Siu Wa.

On May 29, a petition in support of the security law began circulating on the internet. The petition included signatories of 2,605 individuals and 110 groups from the arts and entertainment industry.

The statement from the petition read: “[We] fully understand safeguarding national security is the utmost importance to Hong Kong, and [we] support the decision … to impose national security laws in Hong Kong.”

However, several celebrities whose names appeared on the petition claimed that they did not actually sign it. Netizens also suspected that some of the signatures were fake after pointing out the names of deceased celebrities.

Taiwanese actress Barbie Hsu was also on the list, and netizens on social media questioned it: “What’s Hong Kong to do with you, a Taiwanese?”

Hsu told Apple Daily in Taiwan, “It’s probably someone who happens to have the same name. I have been totally engaged in my daughter’s education.”

Hong Kong-based journalist Sharon Cheung was also seen on the list. She immediately clarified on her Facebook account: “In this world, it’s possible to look alike, not to mention to have the same name.”

On Oct. 27, 2000, Cheung interviewed then-Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin. In the interview, Jiang criticized Cheung and the media of Hong Kong as “too simple, sometimes naïve” and indicated that she was trying to “create big news” by skewing his words in support of Tung Chee-hwa for re-election as the Chief Executive of Hong Kong.

Ram Chiang, also known as Tseung Chi Kwong and a veteran Hong Kong actor, denied signing the petition and stated on his Facebook page: “[I] believe it’s the same name, it’s someone else.”

After doing an online search, netizens found that there is a Tseung Chi Kwong (same Chinese characters as Chiang’s name) who is the director of PAAHKC (People’s Art Association of Hong Kong, China), and questioned if it was his name on the petition.

The famous Cantonese opera master Chan Ruqiang was also on the petition. However, he passed away last year. People in the Cantonese opera community questioned how it was possible for the signature of a deceased person to appear on the petition. They wondered, “Is it also [someone with] the same name?”

Hong Kong pianist Jacqueline Li also clarified on her Facebook page on May 31 that she had not signed the petition. She told Hong Kong media Stand News that she was not aware of anyone in the arts and music industry who had the same name as her and raised doubts over the authenticity of the campaign.

Hong Kong singer Joe Tay also suspected the authenticity of the petition. Tay has been a supporter of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests.

However, netizens found it unquestionable that Jackie Chan supports the security law and stated, “There is so-called death by Jackie Chan’s endorsement.”

In 1989, Chan performed at a concert in support of pro-democracy protesters at Tiananmen Square.

But in recent decades, Chan has become a vocal supporter of the Chinese regime.

On April 18, 2009, Chan spoke at a panel on “tapping into Asia’s Creative industry potential” in China’s southern Hainan province. His comment drew criticism from lawmakers in Taiwan and Hong Kong. “I’m not sure if it’s good to have freedom or not, I’m really confused now. If there is too much freedom, like the way Hong Kong is today, it is very chaotic; Taiwan is also chaotic. I’m gradually beginning to feel that we Chinese need to be controlled,” Chan said.

In 2019, when Chan was asked about his views on the Hong Kong protests during a press conference in Taipei, he said, “I don’t know anything about it.”

Netizens joked that Jackie Chan has earned the nickname “Brand Killer” because some of the companies that endorsed him in the past ended up with poor sales or went bankrupt.

Chan, 66, served as a goodwill spokesman for the China National Anti-Drug Committee in 2009, promoting anti-drug education, state media reported. But netizens noted the irony after his son, Jaycee Chan, was charged with a drug offense in 2014 and spent six months in jail.