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January 7, 2013

Article of the Week Preview: Jackie Chan’s Black Belt in Philanthropy

By Spear's

In front of the cameras, Jackie Chan is a manic yet loveable action hero. Off set, says John Arlidge, he has a black belt in philanthropy

In front of the cameras, Jackie Chan is a manic yet loveable action hero. Off set, says John Arlidge, he has a black belt in philanthropy
JACKIE CHAN LOVES cars, mainly British marques. He keeps dozens in his Hong Kong garage and he once spent $150,000 on the license plate 123. He’s been offered six times that amount to sell the plates in numbers-obsessed Hong Kong. ‘But,’ he insists, ‘I’ll never do it.’

Today, he has left his home for Beijing. He is is darting between the soupy traffic in a Bentley. It is a tough and fast ride — ideal for a hyperkinetic actor who has punched his way to fame and a $130 million fortune in scores of cheap sock ’em flicks through the 1970s in Hong Kong before becoming the city’s first Hollywood star in the 1990s.

Chan is in the Chinese capital to shoot a mini-documentary about the future of philanthropy. It is part of the Bentley Mulsanne Visionaries series which also features the likes of Pritzker Prize-winning Chinese architect Wang Shu. Later he will auction a car for almost $1 million.

To many, Chan is a cheesy hitmaker with flailing limbs, snow-white smile and 27 million Facebook fans. He’s that all right. But he has another role: he is emerging as one of Asia’s leading philanthropists. In a country obsessed with making money, he is getting adept at giving it away. Harper’s Bazaar recently voted him philanthropist of the year.
John Arlidge explores a lesser-known side to the well-known Hollywood actor and martial artist. He talks to Jackie Chan about the memories of childhood poverty that drive his giving, and the inspirational chance encounter that turned him into one of Asia’s most active and tireless philanthropists. You can read the full interview online tomorrow from 11am.  

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