HK fire department names pro-Beijing actor Donnie Yen ‘international image ambassador’

Hong Kong martial arts actor Donnie Yen, who is controversial due to his pro-Beijing views, has been appointed as an ambassador for the city’s fire department. Photos: Media OutReach
Hong Kong martial arts actor Donnie Yen, who is controversial due to his pro-Beijing views, has been appointed as an ambassador for the city’s fire department. Photos: Media OutReach

Hong Kong’s Fire Services Department (HKFSD) has appointed local actor Donnie Yen as the face for a new scheme promoting the global reputation of the brigade.

“It’s my utmost honour to represent HK Fire Department as their International Ambassador!” Yen, who played a lead role in Disney’s controversial remake of Mulan, wrote on his Facebook page Thursday.

According to a press release, the ambassador scheme seeks to boost the department’s “professionalism and commitment” and “spread the HKFSD’s name worldwide.”

The Guangzhou-born actor, perhaps most known for being the star actor of action film series Ip Man, has attracted controversy over the years for his proud pro-establishment stance. He is disliked by Hongkongers who support the city’s democracy movement, who see him as pandering to the lucrative mainland Chinese market.

On July 1 last year, the anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover and a day after Beijing passed a sweeping national security law, the actor wrote on Facebook: “Today is the celebration day for Hong Kong returned (sic) to motherland China 23 years.”

In the same post, he shared a video from 2017, when he performed a piano piece for Chairman Xi Jinping at a handover ceremony. He referred to the opportunity as a “privilege.”

Yen’s most recent production, Mulan, sparked boycott calls from Hong Kong protesters and beyond, who were incensed by the pro-Beijing views held by him and fellow actress Liu Yi-fei, who expressed support for the city’s unpopular police force. Disney was also criticized for filming part of the film in Xinjiang.

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CITY: HONG KONGCATEGORY: NEWSSUB-CATEGORIES: POLITICS

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