Jackie Chan, astronauts win 2016 influence awards

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Actor Jackie Chan.

Movie star Jackie Chan, architect I.M. Pei, astronauts of China's Shenzhou-11 space mission and other leading figures from various fields were honored on March 31 for being 2016's top influencers.

Martial artist and actor Chan said he would act until he is 70 years old after receiving a special award of You Bring Charm to the World, an annual honor given by Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV to those who have greatly influenced people in the country and beyond.

Chan said he once planned to retire at age 40 because he thought his body couldn't afford the tough action scenes in films. But with support from Chinese audiences and the country's growing movie market, he has also done other roles tailored for his age.

"I will act as long as I can move my body. I will try different roles rather than martial arts only, in my own style," he said while accepting the award at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

Liu Changle, chairman and CEO of Phoenix TV, said Chan has created a brave and unbeatable Chinese on world screens.

"Chan is a special envoy who has spread Chinese culture in the world with his martial arts," said Liu.

Chan also sang a birthday song at the award ceremony for fellow winner Pei, who will celebrate his 100th birthday on April 26 in New York. The Chinese-American architect didn't attend the ceremony due to age but received the award at his house in New York.

Chen Siqing, the president of Bank of China, said that Pei is a legend for the Chinese given that his landmark designs are standing as buildings across the world.

Pei has designed two buildings for Bank of China in Beijing and Hong Kong. His most recognized work is the new Louvre museum in Paris.

In an acceptance speech read by his nephew, Pei said he was proud of his Chinese blood even after spending 80 years abroad. Architecture has no borders and it brings beauty to the world, according to Pei.

Chinese actress Yao Chen was given an award for bringing attention to the issue of refugees. Yao has visited those affected by war, poverty or illness in countries across the world since 2010, including Lebanon, Pakistan, Ethiopia and the Philippines. In China, she is a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Yao recalled her visit to Syria three years ago, when she told a little girl that the war would end soon. However, Yao said she felt that she cheated the girl because the war is ongoing.

"It's not only about showing our compassion," she said, adding that it was about what celebrities were doing to make the world a better place.

"Although there seems no end, I still have hope in mind to help change things," said Yao, who has more than 80 million fans on Chinese social media platform Weibo.

Astronauts of the Shenzhou-11 spacecraft and Chinese table tennis players were also honored for their contributions in their respective fields. They were hailed as the best presentation of the Chinese spirit by the public who selected them for the award.

Four scientists also won the award because of their research, including Zhao Zhongxian, who discovered an iron-based superconductor that can work at high temperatures, and Yan Ning, a female scientist in her 30s whose research on the functions and structures of membrane proteins can offer big help to cancer patients.

In its 11th year, the award ceremony is held annually to honor more than 100 celebrities and leading figures from all walks of life for their contribution to society. This year, a total of 11 people and groups won the award from the fields of sports, science, literature, architect, movies and public affairs.

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