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Activists are calling on the Oscars to revoke the invitation of Hong Kong actor Donnie Yen to be a presenter at the upcoming Academy Awards due to his ties with the Chinese communist regime and remarks he has made against the Hong Kong democracy movement.

A Change.org petition for Yen’s removal from the Oscars’ presenter list amassed tens of thousands of signatures within days.

Tang Weixiong, a Hong Kong resident who has immigrated to Taiwan, launched the petition, which calls out Yen for being “a supporter of the Chinese Communist regime and has made several remarks in support of the Chinese government’s policies, including supporting the implementation of the National Security Law in Hong Kong and accusing Hong Kong protesters of being rioters.”

“These remarks not only violate the spirit of freedom of speech but also deny the rights of the people of Hong Kong to fight for their freedom and democracy,” the petition read.

As of March 8, the number of signatures has exceeded 75,000.

Epoch Times Photo
A petition on change.org calling for the removal of Hong Kong actor Donnie Yen from the Oscars. (Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

Charles Lam, a spokesperson of the Hong Kong Forum in Los Angeles, said that the Oscars should invite other stars instead of Yen.

“There are many famous Asian-American actors, and there is no need to have Donnie Yen. It is better to find Asian-American actors, which gives them more spotlight in the United States.”

Wang Dan, a former student leader of the 1989 democracy movement at Tiananmen Square, has joined the mounting opposition over Yen’s Oscars invite, reported RFA.

“Donnie Yen’s remarks … represent a challenge to mainstream civilization and universal values,” Wang said.

“He … may be able to make a fortune in an autocratic country like China, but it would be extremely inappropriate for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to have him present an award,” he said.

GQ Hype Interview

Yen has repeatedly expressed support for the CCP’s violent suppression of the Hong Kong human rights movements, including supporting the implementation of the regime’s National Security Law in Hong Kong and accusing Hong Kong protesters of being “rioters.” Such remarks have drawn wide criticism.

In an interview with British magazine GQ Hype on Feb. 28, he said that the “anti-extradition law” movement in Hong Kong in 2019 was not a protest but a “riot.”

From June 2019 until early 2020, millions of people took to the streets of Hong Kong to protest Beijing’s introduction of the proposed anti-extradition law, which violated Hong Kong’s judicial independence and Hong Kong citizens’ human rights.

Hong Kong Police were criticized for responding to the protestors with disproportionate and unjustified force, such as using tear gas, pepper spray, water cannons, rubber bullets, and beating people severely with truncheons.

Since then, many Hong Kong lawmakers, politicians, media professionals, and students who joined or support the protests have either been jailed by the regime or had to flee Hong Kong.

Member of Communist Committee

Yen is a new member of China’s ruling Communist Party’s (CCP) National Committee representing Hong Kong, which saw him attending the CCP’s Two Sessions political meeting, which started on March 4.

Epoch Times Photo
Actor Donnie Yen Ji-dan, (Center) attend the opening of the first session of the 14th Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) at The Great Hall of People on March 04, 2023 in Beijing, China. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

During the Two Sessions meeting, Yen told state-run Hong Kong China News Agency that he suggested CCP “use more and better policies to attract investment for action movies” and “use Chinese action movies to tell Chinese stories well.”

“Telling Chinese stories well” is the communist regime’s slogan for its foreign propaganda strategy.

The 95th Academy Awards will be held on March 12.

The Hollywood action film “John Wick: Chapter 4”, starring Keanu Reeves and Yen, will be released at the end of March. Yen plays a blind assassin in the movie.

Born in 1963 in Guangzhou, China, Yen moved to Hong Kong with his family when he was 2 years old and immigrated to the United States when he was 12.

Claiming to have renounced his U.S. citizenship, Yen said in the GQ Hype interview that Western media, such as BBC and CNN, only focus on negative news about China. The development of China and the real China are never reported by the Western media, he said.

Netizens commented that Yen grew up in the West, and now he only stays in China for a few days a year, so the China he sees may be different from ordinary Chinese people.

Xu Manyuan contributed to this report.

 

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