When it was announced that there would be a live-action remake of Mulan, we were ecstatic.
To see a long-time favourite Disney heroine of ours in flesh and bone breaking ancient Chinese tradition, challenging and dismissing gender stereotypes, becoming a fearsome warrior and putting her life on the line to save the whole of China, it was something we were looking forward to. We were ready to marvel at her decision to take the place of her ailing father in the army; we were ready to watch her journey as she grew from a girl to a fearsome female warrior; we were ready to stand alongside her and watch her as she saved China.
Then came reports to boycott the film:
‘PRO-DEMOCRACY ACTIVISTS CALL FOR BOYCOTT ON DISNEY’S MULAN AS LIU YIFEI SUPPORTS POLICE BRUTALITY’
‘DISNEY’S MULAN CAUSES BACKLASH AFTER LEAD ACTRESS EXPRESSED SUPPORT FOR HONG KONG POLICE’
‘MULAN BOYCOTT URGED AFTER LEAD STAR BACKS HK POLICE’
It’s a touch ironic, and quite funny just because of how ironic it is, that Mulan is a film about a woman fighting for the freedom of her people, and yet here was the lead actress, Liu Yifei, portraying said woman, actively supporting the fight against the freedom of her people. “I also support Hong Kong police. You can beat me up now,” the actress — a Chinese-born American — reportedly wrote. “What a shame for Hong Kong.”
It left a particularly sour taste in our mouths reading her controversial comments on her supporting the Hong Kong police; we weren’t well versed in what was happening at that time, but after seeing traumatising videos of police beating protesters (which, regardless of why they were protesting, is horrific and COMPLETELY unacceptable) and then doing some research and understanding what triggered the protest — it was the Extradition Bill, which is now suspended indefinitely — we decided that we couldn’t and wouldn’t be supporting the film — we don’t support or endorse anybody, any brand, any film or any company who don’t adhere to EVERYONE’S human rights.
We thought that was it, until a few days ago.
‘DISNEY’S MULAN WAS PARTIALLY FILMED IN XINJIANG, LEADING TO FRESH BOYCOTT CALLS’
‘MULAN ENDING CREDITS SPARK BACKLASH, CALLS TO BOYCOTT’
‘MULAN MOVIE BOYCOTT CALLS GROW OVER SCENES FILMED IN XINJIANG’
It seems when Disney released the film on Disney+ (but not before already-paying subscribers had to pay an extortionate $29.99 or £19.99, if in the UK, to stream it), they made a special shout-out in the ending credits to the ‘Publicity Department of CPC Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Committee’ — there are a population of Uyghur Muslims, who are an ethnic minority, that are being oppressed, and none other than in Xinjiang.
Disney filmed a portion of a film about a woman fighting for the freedom of her people in Xinjiang, a nation in China where more than one million Uyghur Muslims are reportedly being held in detention camps where they force slave labour, the sterilisation of Uyghur women to curb the population, and indoctrination. You can read the report from the BBC on it here.
Filming part of a film in such a controversial region…it begs the question: does Disney not care about human rights or social justice? Of all the places Disney could have picked to film, heck, they could’ve even gone for a green screen, they chose Xinjiang. Deadline reported that Christine McCarthy, Disney’s head of finance, said: ‘”In an effort to accurately depict some of the unique landscape and geography of the country of China for this period drama, we filmed scenery in 20 different locations in China. It’s common knowledge that, in order to film in China, you have to be granted permission. That permission comes from the central government.”
It’s evident to us all, then, that human rights mean nothing to Disney; Disney, like the rest of the world, would have been aware about the treatment of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang — it’s common knowledge. But purely because they wanted a certain aesthetic for the film, they stuck their head in the sand and went to the Chinese government for permission to film, and then thanked the ‘Publicity Department of CPC Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Committee’ for allowing them to film where they did.
As we previously said, we don’t support or endorse anybody, any brand, any film or any company who don’t adhere to EVERYONE’S human rights.
So we are not just boycotting the film; we are boycotting Disney.
They themselves know that Mulan has brought nothing but issues for them — Christine McCarthy told Deadline that the film ”has generated a lot of issues for us.” We can only hope that Disney will learn from the horrendous mistakes they’ve made and do better in the future.
We have a role to call out any and all corporations that value money above human rights, morality, humanity and ethics because if we don’t, we’d be endorsing them. Plain and simple. We need them to listen and unfortunately big companies like Disney — and yes, that includes you too, Netflix. Cuties? We see you — won’t listen if we just talk. But stop/threaten their cash flow, and they’ll lend their ear, which is why we’re completely behind the boycott of the film.
It’s a complete and utter shame that the first Disney film of culture, one which should have taken the world by storm, has been plagued by such scandal. It’s a shame that Mulan, which could have and should have made waves for being the first Chinese Hollywood Disney princess film, is sadly being remembered for bringing nothing but dishonour to us all.
Please sign and share the following petition to raise awareness about the abuse towards Uyghur Muslims: