Boycott Mulan movement gains traction fast
The #BoycottMulan movement had begun to gain traction once more in the past few weeks following the release of the highly anticipated live action reboot of Disney’s Mulan to Disney’s new streaming service, Disney Plus. This came after several controversies surfaced over the film. The biggest ones were regarding part of the movie being filmed in Xinjiang and the lead actress, Liu Yifei, expressing support for the Hong Kong police force.
Lead actress weighs in on Hong Kong protests
The movement to boycott Mulan first started last year after the actress that plays the role of Mulan, Liu Yifei, posted on Weibo, “I support the Hong Kong police. You can all attack me now. What a shame for Hong Kong.” Although Chinese users expressed support for Yifei’s comments, immediately after, there had been calls to boycott the film and #BoycottMulan was trending on Twitter.
Yifei’s post was about the clashes between Hong Kong police and protesters. Protests had initially begun peacefully but quickly grew into daily clashes between the two groups and caught the attention of many people in the US.
Activists react to Yifei
Since Yifei’s post, pro-democracy activists in Taiwan and Thailand have joined the Hong Kong in what is known as the #MilkTeaAlliance that unites pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.
Pro-democracy activists of Taiwan and Thailand have also stood behind Hong Kong activists’ call to reignite the boycott movement as demonstrations have been happening recently in Thailand as well.
The prominent pro-democracy Hong Kong 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.” The Thai student activist, Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal, tweeted, “I invite everyone to #boycottMulan #banMulan to make Disney and the Chinese government know that state violence against the people is unacceptable.”
Mulan thanks Xinjiang government
In the past few days, critics have also pointed out that Disney thanked the Chinese Communist Party Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Committee and the Turpan Public Security Bureau in Xinjiang in the film’s end credits. Although China calls the camps in Xinjiang “re-education” camps, the US Congressional-Executive Committee on China says it is the “largest mass incarceration of a minority population in the world today.” According to the UN, more than a million Chinese Uighur Muslims are being detained in internment camps.
Activists explain the end credits
Novelist Jeanette Ng tweeted, “Mulan specifically thank the publicity department of CPC Xinjiang Uyghur autonomous region committee in the credits. You know, the place where the cultural genocide is happening.” She added, “They filmed extensively in Xinjiang, which the subtitles call ‘Northwest China.’” Mulan’s production designer, Grant Major, had also commented recently in an interview that the production crew spent months “in and around the northwest province of Xinjiang.” Axios China reporter B. Allen Embraimian had also tweeted regarding the Turpan Public Security Bureau in Xinjiang, “That specific public security bureau has been deeply involved in the Xinjiang concentration camps.”
The US State Department Human Rights report in 2018 described instances of torture, sexual abuse, repressive surveillance measures, forcible eating of pork and drinking of alcohol(both of which are forbidden for observant Muslims), confiscation of Qurans, and even deaths in the internment camps.
Joshua Wong had turned to Twitter once again in light of the new discoveries about the film tweeting, “It just keeps getting worse! Now, when you watch #Mulan, not only are you turning a blind eye to police brutality and racial injustice(due to what the lead actors stand for), you’re also potentially complicit in the mass incarceration of Muslim Uyghurs.”
Amid the several controversies are also criticisms on the lack of asian representation behind the camera. Disney and the cast has yet to comment on the accusations that have caused the boycott of the film.