February 1, 2008
Written by C.N.
Jet Li is undoubtedly one of the world’s most popular action movie stars and for many Asians and Asian Americans, a spiritual successor to the legendary Bruce Lee. However, as Reuters News reports, Jet Li is forging his own legacy by devoting much of his time to charity work, rather than just cranking out more movies:
Li told Reuters that he had turned down two offers from U.S. filmmakers, forfeiting an income of about 200 million yuan ($27.6 million). He declined to elaborate.
Instead, he will focus on the Jet Li One Foundation Project, which he launched jointly with the Red Cross Society of China last year to raise funds to help victims of natural disasters worldwide and Chinese youth coping with mental health issues.
“About 30 million Chinese aged between 15 and 35 suffer from mental illness … A lot commit suicide,” said Li. . . . Li has enlisted Taiwan director Ang Lee, Hong Kong action star Jackie Chan and heartthrob Andy Lau among others to help with his project.
Chinese volunteers include Liu Xiang, the 110 metre Olympic champion, and Deng Yaping, who won four Olympic gold medals and 18 world titles before her retirement from table tennis in 1997. Li also hopes to help victims of natural disasters in the Philippines and North Korea as well as New Orleans.
It’s refreshing to see celebrities like Li who keep their feet on the ground and who are willing to put their fame and fortune to good use to help out ordinary human beings who are less fortunate than them, especially in addressing an issue like mental health, which still has a strong cultural taboo associated with it.
Kudos to Li and his colleagues and I hope their example inspires other celebrities from all backgrounds to do similar work.
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Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "Jet Li’s Charity Work" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/2008/02/jet-lis-charity-work/> ().
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