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Why Does Hollywood Keep Working with Jackie Chan?

Influence operations are all the rage right now.

Politicians and media bombard us with stories about Russian interference in America’s political system. So there should be a lot of attention on how Hollywood happily helps China conduct influence operations across the globe.

On a smaller level, people should be paying attention to Jackie Chan and Hollywood. Specifically, why Hollywood continues working with the “Rush Hour” star when he spreads pro-China and anti-America propaganda.

The Hollywood Reporter reported on May 11 that, “Jackie Chan, Sylvester Stallone Team Up for Action Pic ‘Ex-Baghdad.’” THR described the movie as being about “two ex-special forces soldiers who must escort a group of civilians along Baghdad’s ‘Highway of Death’ to the safety of the Green Zone.” The same post noted that it’s an $80 million Chinese production.

China now influences a lot of what Hollywood produces, so the Chinese financing “Ex-Baghdad” comes as no surprise. But the influence China has over Hollywood is disturbing.

How China is changing Hollywood

China is one of the top national security threats to the United States. Those who have followed my writings know how this Chinese threat has directly affected me. So the report of Stallone planning to make a new movie with Chan should be disconcerting. Chan, after all, has made no attempt to hide his dislike of America and his desire to see China dominate it.

The Washington Post published, “The anti-Americanism of Jackie Chan,” in 2013, and provided both a video clip and translation of an interview Chan gave to a Chinese audience. In that interview he ripped America as “corrupt.”

Here’s a juicy excerpt:

He once said, in defending China’s censorship of his films, “Chinese people need to be controlled, otherwise they will do whatever they want.” So, in some ways, it was probably only a matter of time until he set his sights on the United States.

Chan was even more strident with his anti-American and pro-Chinese rhetoric in 2016. As THR reported in, “Jackie Chan: ‘Warcraft’ Success in China ‘Scares the Americans’,” he specifically mentioned how Warcraft helped to elevate China at the expense of America.

“Warcraft made 600 million RMB [$91 million] in two days — this has scared the Americans,” Chan said. “If we can make a film that earns 10 billion [$1.5 billion], then people from all over the world who study film will learn Chinese, instead of us learning English,” he added.

“It is you, not us, who makes China powerful,” Chan said to the mostly Chinese crowd in attendance. “So, thank you all — we hope the Chinese film industry gets even more powerful.”

So how will “Ex-Baghdad” capture America or American interests? And how will it portray China (if at all)?

We’ll have to wait and see.

But we know two things for sure: the Chinese-backed Hollywood feature is part of a Chinese strategy to increase its global influence and position at America’s expense. And Chan being part of “Ex-Baghdad” ensures that he remains a notable voice in the world.

American leaders don’t seem to care much about the Chinese-Hollywood relationship despite their obsession with Russian influence operations.

They are undoubtedly even less concerned with how Hollywood continues to put Chan in global movies. And, more importantly, how that enables the action star to continue with his pro-China and anti-America propaganda.

Paul Hair is an author and national security/intelligence expert. He writes fiction and nonfiction under his own name and as a ghostwriter. Connect with him at Contact him at

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore via / CC BY-SA

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