International Boycott Called Against Disney's "Mulan"
BANGKOK, Thailand -- Thailand's democracy activists,
angered by Hong
Kong's police brutality, joined an international "Mulan" boycott which
expanded after Disney thanked China's security forces for help with
filming in a desert where one million Uighurs and other Muslims are
imprisoned or suffer other rights violations.
"It just keeps getting worse!" Hong Kong's leading activist Joshua Wong tweeted.
"Now when you
watch #Mulan, not only are you turning a blind eye
police brutality and racial injustice -- due to what the lead actors
stand for -- you're also potentially complicit in the mass
incarceration of Muslim ethnic Uighurs. #BoycottMulan," Mr. Wong said.
"We have still
not forgotten that Mulan's leading actress supported
the police use of violence against Hong Kong protesters who fight for
freedom and democracy,” announced prominent Thai student activist
would like to invite everybody to #BoycottMulan, #BanMulan,
Disney and the Chinese government realize that state violence against
the people is something that cannot be accepted," Mr. Netiwit, 23,
said on Twitter resulting in tens of thousands of online likes and
During the past few days, Hong Kong's
police have clashed with
thousands of protesters and detained more than 90, chasing, beating
and arresting some of them for allegedly obstructing and assaulting
Those protests opposed a recent
cancellation of a local election,
China's imposition of a harsh national security law in July, and other
anti-democracy policies in semi-autonomous Hong Kong.
The boycott began when dual U.S.-Chinese citizen
Liu Yifei -- who
stars as Mulan's Chinese female warrior -- shared an online statement
from Beijing's government-controlled People’s Daily media in August.
"I also support Hong Kong police. You can beat
me up now," the media's
statement said in Chinese.
Ms. Liu mirrored the statement by posting: "I also support Hong Kong police."
Her post came at the
height of Hong Kong's police crackdown against
months of often violent street confrontations.
Mr. Wong denounced Ms. Liu as a "Cop Backer."
Mr. Wong's post
was retweeted by Nathan Law, 27, a Hong Kong
activist who fled to London in July fearing arrest. Mr. Law's Twitter
account has more than 240,000 followers.
Mr. Law also retweeted Mr. Netiwit's post,
including photos of Thais
holding "#BanMulan" signs in a Bangkok movie theater after Disney's
$200 million production opened here on Sept. 4.
Reporter asked Beijing-based Ms. Liu about
Hong Kong's police, she replied:
think it's obviously a very complicated situation and I'm
expert. I just really hope it gets resolved soon."
In the film's closing credits, The Walt Disney
Co. gave "Special
Thanks" to China's Bureau of Public Security (PSB) in Turpan, Xinjiang
province, where dramatic desert battles take place.
Those credits were
publicly seen for the first time when the
live-action remake of "Mulan" was released on September 4.
explicitly thanks the Public Security Bureau of
municipality for their help in making Mulan," tweeted Australian
Strategic Policy Institute researcher Nathan Ruser.
"Turpan PSB runs at least 14 detention
facilities that are designed to
extrajudicially detain minorities," targeting mostly Muslim Uighurs
along the ancient Silk Road.
"The size of Xinjiang's
re-education camp network has more than
doubled in the last year," Mr. Ruser said.
"From first-hand testimony
to satellite imagery, researchers have now
provided empirical data that authoritatively paints a picture of the
extent of China’s biggest human rights abuse since the 1989
post-Tiananmen purge," the institute said.
Disney's film credits also thanked the
"publicity department of CPC
[the Communist Party of China] Xinjiang Uighur Autonomy Region
That department churns out
government-produced propaganda about how
wonderful life is in Xinjiang and what Beijing is doing to improve
everyone's life there.
production designer Grant Major, "who previously worked
'The Meg' and 'Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon 2' in China, along with
set decorator Anne Kulijan and the rest of the [Mulan] production
team, spent months in and around the northwest province of Xinjiang to
do legwork research before the cameras rolled," Architectural Digest
"Chinese academics were consulted as well," the magazine said.
"It’s a Disney movie,
so everything should look romanticized
family-friendly," Mr. Major said.
"It’s a girl-power film."
New York-based Asia Society senior fellow Isaac Stone Fish tweeted:
"What's wrong with
thanking Xinjiang? Well, more than a million
Muslims in Xinjiang, mostly of the Uighur minority, have been
imprisoned in concentration camps.
worked with regions where genocide is occurring, and
departments that are helping implement it," Mr. Fish said.
The international boycott coincides with
Center's live public webcast scheduled for Sept. 11 about "The
Politics of a New Mulan," sponsored by the Kissinger Institute on
China and the United States.
"The film was released in September
of 2020 [and] its bad guys -- the
Mongolians -- are being told [in real life] their children couldn’t
study in their mother tongue within China," the Wilson Center said.
Protesters in China's autonomous Inner Mongolia
oppose a new Mandarin
Chinese language curriculum, fearing it will erode their culture.
Aguilera, who sings "Reflection" on Mulan's
told her 17 million Twitter followers:
"I see myself in Mulan in the sense that
I've always been a Fighter --
for and defending truth and meaning, even in the face of fear, self
doubt and backlash."
Richard S. Ehrlich is a
Bangkok-based American foreign correspondent
from San Francisco, California, reporting news from Asia since 1978
and winner of Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism's
Foreign Correspondent's Award. His newest nonfiction book titled,
"Rituals. Killers. Wars. & Sex. ~ Tibet, India, Nepal, Laos, Vietnam,
Afghanistan, Sri Lanka & New York" offers free lengthy excerpts,
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