It was an announcement that surprised many people. On the Chinese social network Weibo, Hong Kong actor Jackie Chan promised that he would pay the staggering sum of one million yuan, or about £110,000, to the person or organisation that comes up with an effective coronavirus vaccine, several media outlets reported today.
'I don't want to see people suffer and die'
'If anyone, individual or institution, is capable of producing an effective vaccine for the virus, I would like to offer him 1 million yuan as a token of my gratitude,' the 65-year-old actor said in a message posted in early February.
He added: 'It's not a lot of money. But I don't want to see the streets deserted when they should have been busy. I just don't want to see people suffering and dying when they could be enjoying life.'
Jackie sang the anti-coronavirus anthem
And the actor didn't stop there, as he also took part in the recording of an anthem entitled Believe Love Will Triumph, an 'official' song in support of the fight against the coronavirus, with other Chinese and Asian personalities. A song whose unifying lyrics call for 'gathering the power of the Chinese people.'
But this sudden media presence around the issue of the coronavirus left Chinese internet users somewhat perplexed. A few weeks ago, Jackie Chan triggered a controversy after recording a message for the Chinese public channel Zhejiang Satellite TV. In the message, he expressed his support and explained that everything would soon be put right.
On social networks, Chinese internet users have been very critical of the actor, accusing him of spreading good wishes rather than calling for donations.