Jackie Chan-produced action movie criticised for filming in devastated Syrian town

A Chinese action film executive-produced by Jackie Chan shot several of its scenes in al-Hajar al-Aswad, a Syrian town destroyed in the civil war, and the Syrians are very angry.

Jackie Chan

Home Operation, directed by Song Yinxi, is a film based on the true story of China's evacuation of a number of its national from Yemen in 2015, during the civil war.

However, the film is being attacked as a propaganda film whose attempt is to make the ruling Chinese Communist party (CCP) look good at home and abroad.

“It takes the perspective of diplomats who are Communist party members, who braved a hail of bullets in a war-torn country and safely brought all Chinese compatriots on to the country’s warship unscathed,” says one critic.

Jackie Chan, who was born in Hong Kong, is a known supporter of CCP.

“I’m gradually beginning to feel that we Chinese need to be controlled. If we’re not being controlled, we’ll just do what we want,” he said in 2019.

Other critics are not happy with the film being shot amidst the ruins of the country’s civil conflict.

“It is shameful to film such films on the ruins of Syrian homes that were destroyed by the Assad regime, Russia and Iran … the Chinese fascist regime is an ally of Syria, and they are trying to whitewash their crimes in actions like this,” Charles Lister, director of the Middle East Institute’s Syria Program, said.

Al-Hajar al-Aswad is 4km south of Damascus, near the Yarmouk refugee camp. In 2012, as the Syrian civil war had just begun, it was a bastion for the anti-government rebels, the Free Syrian Army.

After three years of fighting, the town was captured by government forces in 2018. China, throughout the civil war, supported Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad.

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