John Wick 4 Star Being Targeted For Ties To Chinese Government

A petition for John Wick 4 star Donnie Yen to be removed from presenting at the Oscars due to his association with the Chinese Government has gathered 60,000 signatures.

By Britta DeVore | Updated

Donnie Yen

While last year we had to wait until the night of the Academy Awards to see some major drama unfold when Will Smith assaulted Chris Rock on stage, this year, things are kicking off ahead of schedule. As Vice reports, an online petition of almost 60,000 signatures is asking those at the head of the awards show to ax John Wick 4 star Donnie Yen from presenting at the 95th Academy Awards this Sunday. The petition was introduced by pro-democracy activists who claim that Yen is in tight with the Chinese Communist Party and, therefore, doing damage to the name of democracy.

Known in Hollywood for his masterful martial arts skills, the Rogue One star has drawn negative attention from democracy advocates like Henry Tong, who claims that the actor is “helping to whitewash the Chinese regime.” Tong was the man who kicked off the petition to remove Donnie Yen from the stage at the Oscars and has been active in the fight for more freedom in Hong Kong since 2019. Since then, Tong, along with tens of thousands of others, has fled from the city as the government has done all but completely squash basic human rights such as free speech. 

Donnie Yen’s loyalty to the Chinese government has never been a secret, as the actor has always been a loud supporter of the country’s leadership. The Mulan star’s championing has not gone unnoticed, as in January, Yen nabbed a position on Beijing’s top advisory body, the National Committee of Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. There, he’ll serve his country as a representative of Hong Kong’s arts and culture. 

Donnie Yen in John Wick: Chapter 4

Other filmmakers and artists may be having a hard time getting their work to screen in China, but so far that hasn’t been the case for Donnie Yen. However, the tides may be changing as his next project, John Wick 4, could very well be banned from theaters in China. Because of Keanu Reeves’ appearance at a Tibet-related concert that was held by the Dalai Lama last March, the country made the swift decision to pull all of Reeves’ titles from their streaming platforms. 

As we know, Keanu Reeves leads the cast in John Wick 4, so there is a major probability that this will be the one Donnie Yen movie that doesn’t make it into Chinese theaters. On the other hand, perhaps the government will make an exception for this one Reeves-led film as one of their country’s favorite stars holds a leading role. With the way the country has edited and banned movies in the past, anything is possible when it comes to Chinese cinema.

Already expected to be a major hit, John Wick: Chapter 4 will pick back up with the titular assassin following the events of the last film. Now with a hefty bounty on his head, John Wick will be forced to take on the High Table as he goes on a mission to find the very best in the hit-man game. His travels will take him on a global trek where he’ll meet characters, including Donnie Yen’s assassin, who has long been a friend of John Wick’s.