“I have gone to the Oscars and come back,” said Donnie Yen, an action movie star from China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, when asked to comment on the backlash he encountered from Hong Kong secessionists due to his earlier comments on the 2019 riot.
Yen said he believes that everyone can express their opinions, but that there should not be violence. “This world needs a little more tolerance and love, and there is no need for too much violence,” he told the media at an event in Hong Kong on Sunday.
Yen was born in Guangzhou, South China’s Guangdong Province. He moved to Hong Kong at the age of 2 and emigrated to the US when he was 12. However, he gave up his US citizenship in 2010 and became a Chinese citizen again.
He is a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference in Hong Kong and attended the two sessions in Beijing earlier this month.
Yen was criticized by some Hong Kong secessionists due to his relationship with the Chinese government, and they organized an online petition calling for his removal as a presenter at this year’s Oscars ceremony.
Despite the petition, the Star Wars actor introduced a performance of best song nominee “This is a Life” from “Everything Everywhere All at Once.”
Yen was applauded by Chinese netizens for some of his patriotic comments.
In a recent interview with foreign media outlets, he talked about stereotypes of Asian characters in Hollywood films. “Most of the people outside China don’t see it until they are there. The progress – the freeways, the architecture, the convenience of life,” he said in a recent interview with British GQ magazine.
He also told the magazine that he was upset that the Western media focuses only on negative stories about China. “BBC, CNN, they never talk about the progress. They never mention the real side of it,” he said.
When discussing the 2019 anti-government protests in Hong Kong, Yen told GQ that “It wasn’t a protest, okay, it was a riot.”