Jackie Chan, the Hong Kong action film star known for his daredevil stunts, has been named a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations’ Children’s Fund and UN Aids agencies.
The actor will help fight the spread of HIV/Aids, and discrimination against those affected by it, and advance the causes of children, particularly those who suffer through armed conflict, said Rodney Hatfield, UNICEF's representative in Cambodia.
“Let me know whatever I can do, wherever I can go. I promise you I’ll do it,” Chan said at a news conference in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Chan – a box-office star of Hollywood and Chinese-language movies for more than 20 years – is visiting children suffering from Aids and touring land mine rehabilitation centres on a three-day stay in Cambodia, which ends on Wednesday.
“We are confident that Jackie’s prestige, great talent and genuine concern for children will help the United Nations send a powerful message on the impact of HIV/Aids and conflict on children that will reach the hearts and minds of people throughout the world,” Hatfield said.
Cambodia has Southeast Asia’s highest HIV infection rate, although it dropped to 2.6% in 2002 from 3.8% in 1997.
Chan said he has been involved in charity work – helping the elderly, homeless and poor children – during the last two decades.
He said he contacted UNICEF to offer his services after watching films about land mines.
“I always think I am so lucky,” Chan said. “So, now it’s time to give back.”
Chan visited Siem Reap, home to the country’s cultural icon, Angkor Wat, to meet Buddhist monks helping children and families affected by HIV/Aids.
He also helped explosives experts destroy a land mine.
In Cambodia, many weapons – including unexploded bombs, an estimated four million to six million land mines and other ordnance – are left over from the Vietnam War and three decades of civil conflict.
Chan, who has starred in Hollywood hits such as Rush Hour, Rumble in the Bronx and Shanghai Noon, will likely begin shooting the third film in the Rush Hour series later this year.
Current UNICEF goodwill ambassadors include actors Roger Moore, Jessica Lange, and singers Harry Belafonte and Ricky Martin.