It’s no secret that Westeners are, deep down inside, frightened of China. We see them as a foreign, devilish empire that expands physically, industrially and technologically with every passing year, and will one day – perhaps after a second Cold War – eclipse us as the most important and powerful part of the world. China is a seething, faceless mass of humanity that gives us the willies, and we prefer not to think about it.

Given this rather awkward situation, what do the Chinese do when the Olympics rolls up to Beijing, and all of a sudden we need to think about them? How do they ease our fears?

They give us Jackie Chan.

Smiling, friendly, laughing, delightful, loveable Jackie Chan. A man who has been on our movie screens and television sets for twenty-five years, enshrining a place in our hearts as firmly as Tom Hanks and Mel Gibson. It’s a masterful stroke of PR, and if there’s any justice in the world it will go down in history. I tip my hat to you, China. And Visa I guess. Well, whoever came up with it.

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