The son of action comedy star Jackie Chan pleaded guilty Friday to providing a venue for drug users, the latest person caught up in a widespread crackdown on illegal drugs in Beijing starting last year.
Jaycee Chan was sentenced in a courtroom in the Chinese capital to six months in prison and a fine of about $322.
The 32-year-old was detained in his Beijing apartment in August, along with 23-year-old Taiwanese movie star Ko Chen-tung, known as Kai Ko, among others. Ko was released after a 14-day administrative detention for drug use.
The state-run New China News Agency reported that both tested positive for marijuana use, and police seized 3.5 ounces of marijuana during the raid – crimes that according to the news agency have a maximum sentence of three years.
“I violated the law. I deserve to be punished. When I return to society, I won’t do it again,” Chan said in trial footage that aired on state broadcaster CCTV.
Footage of the raid, including Chan identifying marijuana in his home, was shown on national television before his plea. The CCTV report said Chan had told police he has been using illegal drugs for the last eight years.
Chinese authorities’ attitudes toward drug usage traditionally have been severe, with little distinction between marijuana and harder drugs, and enforcement of drug laws has intensified since summer. Drug abuse, nearly unheard of before the 1980s, is now a growing problem.
In February, China’s public security ministry instructed national police to “get tough” on drug use and prostitution. President Xi Jinping echoed this when he called for “forceful measures” against illegal drug use in June.
The edicts resulted in raids that detained more than 7,800 people last summer on drug charges, according to police. Some bars and nightclubs saw visits by officers who used on-the-spot drug tests. Authorities deported foreigners who tested positive.
Those detained included notable actors, directors and pop stars who had their names publicly listed in the media. The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio and Television stated last fall that such cases were giving a bad example for the country’s youth.
Jaycee Chan’s arrest has proven a major embarrassment for Jackie Chan, who was named a “narcotics control ambassador” by police in 2009. The elder Chan said at the time of his son’s arrest that he felt “ashamed” and “sad” regarding his son’s behavior.
The actor told the New China News Agency that he hopes his son will eventually become an anti-drug ambassador.
Silbert is a special correspondent.