Hong Kong Comedian Stephen Chow Voices Support in Chief Executive Election


'Shaolin Soccer' star sticks up for friend Henry Tang Ying-yen, one of two candidates for Hong Kong's highest office.


HONG KONG – Comedy megastar and auteur Stephen Chow declared his support for former Hong Kong chief secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen, one of the two candidates in the running of the next Hong Kong chief executive, in a firm yet wise-cracking public announcement delivered in his signature deadpan style.

In his position as a member of the election committee in the performing arts subsector for the next Hong Kong chief executive, Chow, who knows Tang personally, stated he admired Tang’s broadmindedness and openness for accepting different views and propensity for soliciting comments from various walks of life.

“Tang’s open-minded personality and stance is imperative to creative freedom and freedom of speech,” Chow said.

When asked about the veiled attack by Tang’s opponent Leung Chun-ying of Tang being “stupid” without naming him, Chow, who has a reputation for not suffering fools, replied after a well-timed pause and with a smirk that betrayed a little incredulousness at having to state the obvious, “but I wouldn’t be friends with stupid people.”

Chow went on to call Tang wise.  

“With Mr. Tang, it’s not a matter of being stupid or smart.  I consider him a wise man for his ability to attract and inspire talented and capable people to work with, or for, him,” Chow explained, in all seriousness this time.

The comic mastermind also had his own words of wisdom on the possible negative impact on public support for Tang after Tang was discovered to have engaged in extramarital liaisons.

Chow deadpanned, “We’re trying to elect a chief executive here, not to choose a boyfriend.”

The entertaining public announcement from Chow of the support for his friend came as a surprise for all, for the creator and star of comedy blockbusters including Shaolin Soccer and Kung Fu Hustle, who counts Will Smith as one of his fans, is known to be rather private and seldom discloses his opinions on political matters or gives interviews to individual media outlets even when he was promoting his films.

Now working on the post-production of his latest cinematic offering, an adaptation of the perennially popular Chinese literature Journey to the West and an re-invention of his 1990s classic A Chinese Odyssey, Chow’s unopposed election to one of 15 seats for the performing arts subsector on the next Hong Kong chief executive election committee came at the last minute on the day before the application closed, after original candidate, 1990s “Heavenly King” of the Hong Kong pop music scene and actor Leon Lai (Forever Enthralled), was found to be ineligible.

Lai’s disqualification to run as the representative of the election committee for the performing arts subsector had made a mockery of the whole election process of the next chief executive, which will be selected by a 1200-member committee – the singer-actor was not eligible as he was not even a registered voter.