Saturday January 19, 2013
Star attraction in political arena
MADE IN CHINA By CHOW HOW BAN
ACTOR Stephen Chow made headlines over the week in China for his new role as the representative of Guangdong Provincial People’s Political Consultative Conference (GPPCC).
Alongside other celebrities, such as Kent Tong Chun-yip, Wu Hsiao-Li and Ma Dingsheng, Chow was appointed to the new 978-member line-up of the body.
GPPCC is the top advisory body to lawmakers and government leaders in the province.
The GPPCC representatives will serve for a term of five years, beginning this month.
This is the first appointment for Chow while Tong, Wu and Ma have been serving as representatives for the second consecutive term.
The media has thrown the ultimate challenge at Chow to weave his magic in political and national affairs and make an impact that will be as great as his funny antics that have amused viewers over the past three decades.
Many observers and Netizens remain skeptical as to whether the Hong Kong Film Awards and Golden Horse Awards-winning actor would find the time to attend GPPCC meetings and play his role to great effect in view of his hectic directorial projects.
The 50-year-old Hong Kong comedian, who is wrapping up the much-anticipated film A Chinese Odyssey in which he directed and acted, was quoted by the press as saying that he was honoured to be appointed as a GPPCC delegate and would learn from others on how the advisory body works.
He said he would provide suggestions on the development of the Hong Kong and Chinese film industry.
Chow is probably the biggest Hong Kong star appointed to the body and there is much expectation as to how he would fare in his new role and whether he could stamp his mark at an even higher level up to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, China’s highest national advisory body.
The debate over his appointment has appeared to be less serious and rather entertaining, thanks to the amusing approach by the media and Netizens in speaking out about the issue.
China Central Television borrowed scenes from several classic films of Chow, such as From China With Love, in which he acted as a China impersonator of James Bond, as a metaphor to describe the situation that Chow is in and how he should approach his challenge.
In one scene, Dat Mun Sai (played by Law Kar-ying) rushes into a wet market in search of Leng Leng Chat at his butcher stall.
Dat Mun Sai tells Leng Leng Chat (played by Chow): “The country has a mission for you.”
Leng Leng Chat replies: “Really? Finally, it’s my turn to get some action.”
The media and movie fans alike could not help but use many of Chow’s repertoire of comical antics and dialogue in his movies to spur the actor to take his GPPCC job seriously.
In the past, other star celebrities, such as Gong Li and Jiang Wen, as well as 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games diving champion Sun Shuwei and 2004 Athens Games diving champion Hu Jia, were chosen to represent their respective provincial and national political consultative conferences.
However, they eventually dropped out, citing busy schedules.
There has been an increase in the number of celebrities and icons from sports, corporate, agriculture and NGO circles involved in politics through the advisory body in recent years.
This watchdog system, which encompasses different fields, helps ensure that the Chinese Communist Party and government maintain checks and balances.
According to the GPPCC’s liaison office of Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan affairs, a representative needs to maintain a satisfactory attendance record in activities organised by the advisory body.
Failing to do so would result in them losing their positions and getting replaced by others, a spokesman from the office told the local press.
Last month, the Beijing Chaoyang district people’s political consultative conference committee approved businesswoman Zhang Lan’s request to give up her appointment as a representative of the district after she renounced her Chinese nationality.
Though there have been some grey areas in the representative’s nationality rules, the advisory body will choose mainly Chinese, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan citizens as representatives.