Pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong are calling for a boycott of the movie, which received further criticism for filming in Xinjiang.
- Mulan has now been released on Disney+, but protesters have been calling for a boycott of the movie.
- The boycott stems from actress Liu Yifei’s public support of the Hong Kong police.
- Liu first revealed her support for the police during Hong Kong’s pro-democracy and anti-police brutality protests in 2019.
- The film faced more backlash for filming in Xinjiang, a Chinese region where Uyghur are reportedly being detained.
Mulan has arrived on Disney+ to much fanfare this weekend. However, despite the excitement surrounding the highly anticipated live-action movie, some people are calling for a boycott of Disney’s Mulan.
According to The Guardian, calls for a boycott of Mulan began when the movie’s star, Liu Yifei, posted on Chinese social media site Weibo in August 2019. The Disney star wrote, “I also support Hong Kong police. You can beat me up now.” According to The Guardian, Liu added, “What a shame for Hong Kong.” Meanwhile, The Hollywood Reporter noted that Liu has more than 65 million followers on the site, and added the hashtag #IAlsoSupportTheHongKongPolice and a heart emoji to her post.
Liu’s support of the Hong Kong police came at a time when the organization was being accused of human rights violations against pro-democracy protestors in the country. As reported by the BBC, protesting started because of an extradition bill which would have allowed “criminal suspects to be extradited to mainland China under certain circumstances.” Opponents feared that the bill might be used to target particular groups, including journalists and activists, and see individuals subjected to worse treatment. Following action, the bill was suspended, but protests continue, and altercations between police and protestors have grown more violent. As a result, Liu’s public support of the Hong Kong police has been seen by many as controversial.
Upon the release of Mulan on Disney+, activist Joshua Wong tweeted, “This film is released today. But because Disney kowtows to Beijing, and because Liu Yifei openly and proudly endorses police brutality in Hong Kong, I urge everyone who believes in human rights to #BoycottMulan.”
Liu appears to have backed down over her original comments, and in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in February 2020 said, “I think it’s obviously a very complicated situation and I’m not an expert… I just really hope this gets resolved soon.” Although the actress didn’t retract her comments, she said, “I think it’s just a very sensitive situation.”
The backlash against Mulan gained traction over Labor Day weekend for being partly filmed in Xinjiang, China, the region where Uighur Muslims are being detained in mass internment camps, according to The New York Times.
After the film’s release on Disney+ on September 4, viewers noticed that in the credits, Disney thanks multiple government entities located in Xinjiang, including some accused of spreading propaganda.
“These include four Chinese Communist Party propaganda departments in the region of Xinjiang as well as the Public Security Bureau of the city of Turpan in the same region—organizations that are facilitating crimes against humanity,” The Washington Post columnist Isaac Stone Fish wrote. “It’s sufficiently astonishing that it bears repeating: Disney has thanked four propaganda departments and a public security bureau in Xinjiang, a region in northwest China that is the site of one of the world’s worst human rights abuses happening today.”
Xinjiang, a western region of China, is home to about 11 million Uyghur people, “a predominantly Muslim ethnic minority that speak a language closely related to Turkish and have their own distinct culture,” per CNN. About one million Uyghurs are estimated to be detained in camps in the area, where they reportedly endure torture, abuse, political indoctrination, and forced labor. The Chinese government denies claims of abuse and says the camps are “vocational training centers” and necessary for preventing terrorism.