Stephen Chow was in Beijing on Thursday to promote his new film, Journey to the West.
However, the popular Hong Kong actor and director's new role as a political adviser is not proving easy, as some advisers have criticized him for not fully exercising it.
After being absent for the first two days of the annual session of the Guangdong committee of China's political advisory body, Chow showed up on Friday morning in Guangzhou, the provincial capital.
"I'm very sorry. I did not attend the conference for the first two days because of my film's tight schedule. But I'm very honored to become part of the political advisory body," Chow said.
Chow arrived at the city's conference hall about 9:40 am, more than half an hour after the opening of the Guangdong annual legislature session.
Chow's assistant told reporters that they began the car trip from Hong Kong at 6 am.
"We arrived in Guangzhou before 9 am. But the driver did not know how to get to the hall and we were delayed by the traffic jam," he said.
Surrounded by dozens of reporters at the downtown Baiyun International Conference Hall, Chow blamed his late arrival on the heavy traffic.
"I came here to learn," Chow said. "I will try my best to perform my new role well."
Chow is not the first celebrity from Hong Kong to be appointed a political adviser in Guangdong because the cultural and artistic cooperation between the special administrative region and the mainland has been greatly boosted in recent years.
Eric Tsang, a Hong Kong actor, film director and television host, is also a member of the Guangzhou political consultative conference.
In a proposal to the annual session of the Guangzhou political advisory body, which ended on Tuesday, Tsang said a Hollywood-style movie center should be developed in the city's southernmost Nansha district, which faces Hong Kong across the sea.
In an earlier interview, Tsang said he believed Chow would do a good job in the political advisory body.
"People may think he is only an actor and film director, but he pays a lot of attention to issues outside the film industry," Tsang said.
Tsang said that Chow's experience in acting and making films will help him make useful proposals.
"You reporters should give him some time to prepare for the conference. And I believe he will do well in the new role," Tsang said.
Chow also said he needs time to prepare before he makes a proposal.
"My proposal is related to the culture and film industries," he said.
Su Zhengwu, an official with the Guangdong committee, said the participation of Hong Kong celebrities in local political affairs will help boost cooperation in the artistic field.
"A political adviser has to be influential in his or her own field. Chow, as a celebrity, is certainly qualified for the post," Su said.
"Chow has promised to perform the duties required of a political adviser. But he needs some time to understand the process," Su added.
After the opening of the local legislature session, Chow did not attend a panel discussion on Friday afternoon.
"Political advisers, especially influential participants, should balance their work and the conference," said Lin Qiucheng, a Guangdong political adviser.
"The conference only lasts a few days. Chow's absence in the first two days has some negative impact. He should take his duty as it is defined," he said.
At the first day of the advisory body's session on Wednesday, more than 10 advisers asked for a leave of absence.
"Chow's absence is a great pity, both for the conference and himself. As a comic star, he should tell the public that he is not a person who simply makes jokes," said Ma Dingsheng, a host on Phoenix Television.