18 January 2019
Jackie Chan has featured in a new CCTV campaign that aims to educate the Chinese youth on the perils of using drugs. Photo:
Jackie Chan has featured in a new CCTV campaign that aims to educate the Chinese youth on the perils of using drugs. Photo:

Fresh debate over Jackie Chan’s anti-drug ambassador role

With the world preparing to mark the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on June 26, China’s state-run TV broadcaster has roped in several celebrities for an anti-drug abuse campaign.

As part of the campaign, China Central Television (CCTV) will run a major report on the issue on June 25, a day before the official event. 

To promote the program, the broadcaster has begun airing a video clip that features dozens of popular entertainment artistes.

In the video, the celebrities can be seen singing a theme song entitled “life”, aiming to send a message to the youth to stay away from drugs.

The TV campaign has grabbed people’s attention and is helping enhance public awareness on the key issue, but it has also fueled an intense debate in online forums.

The reason: Jackie Chan features in the video as one of China’s good anti-drug role models.

Several mainlanders raised questions in online forums about the inclusion of the Hong Kong movie star in the video, given the drugs scandal last year involving Jackie’s son Jaycee. 

In August 2014, mainland authorities arrested Jaycee Chan after the police found some marijuana in a Beijing apartment where he was living. 

Observers pointed to the irony as Jaycee’s father had in 2009 been named China’s anti-drug ambassador.

Despite the damage to his image, Jackie Chan has never stopped participating in anti-drug campaign events. In fact, he was appointed as an anti-drug ambassador in Singapore this April.

Jackie once admitted in public that he was ashamed and guilty for the drug habits of his son, and wondered whether he should quit as the anti-drug ambassador.

Nonetheless, he decided to continue his duties as he believed that stepping down would mean surrendering to drug dealers.

Jackie even revealed that he hoped to be an anti-drug ambassador on a permanent basis.

However, there has been a mixed reaction among the mainlanders, and some said they are not entirely convinced with Chan’s explanation.

Following the latest CCTV campaign, some netizens even described Jackie’s participation in the song as the biggest joke in the history of the anti-drugs campaign.

Some teased that Chan should have sung the song solo to his son instead.

But there were others who defended the martial arts superstar, saying that Jackie, as the father of someone who had used drugs, can resonate with families and speak more convincingly.

According to a mainland news report, the number of drug abusers in China is estimated to be over 14 million.

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