Martial arts actor Jackie Chan recently expressed that he had plans to move ancient Chinese buildings to Singapore, which sparked controversy in a nation already sensitive about losing its artifacts. On his website, he stated that he wants to give a Singapore university four of 10 traditional Hui-style sandalwood buildings that he bought 20 years ago, saying that it’s such a waste if they’re not displayed for people to appreciate.
Jackie also added that his decision came after he and the Hong Kong government failed to find land for the homes, whereas the Singapore University of Technology and Design showed care and enthusiasm about hosting the old buildings.
Upon hearing the above, Xinhua state news agency cited officials and social media users as arguing that the structures should stay in China, particularly in the eastern province of Anhui where the architectural style originates. “If those buildings are historical relics, they are not allowed to leave China”, Xinhua quoted Zhang Hongmin, an official at the provincial body for cultural heritage, as saying. On China’s popular micro blog platform, Weibo, the news have also caused a furor amongst the users, who are against Jackie’s decision.
Almost immediately, the 59-year-old superstar took to his own blog to respond to the outcry:
I never imagined that sharing my thoughts about donating historic buildings would cause such a big stir. I really want to try and find an opportunity to tell you the whole story from beginning to end because it’s honestly a very interesting story. I can’t tell it to you in just a few sentences, I need to find a chance to sit down and explain all the details.
But there are some things that I can clearly tell you right now: Please don’t worry. Jackie Chan didn’t do anything illegal, and I certainly won’t do anything bad towards my country. Anyway, I’d like to take this opportunity to say thanks for all your concerns.