Walt Disney’s recent live-action adaptation of the popular 1998 animated film ‘Mulan’ is facing a fresh wave of criticism after several government authorities in the Chinese region of Xinjiang — where over a million Muslim Uighurs are being held in internment camps — were named in the film’s credits.
The film, which released on the streaming platform Disney+ last week, met with widespread outrage after it extended “special thanks” to top government bodies such as the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) Publicity Department, as well as the Public Security Bureau and Tourism Department of Turpan — a city near Xinjiang with a large Uighur population.
[Joshua Wong has encouraged a global boycott of Walt Disney Co's release "Mulan".]
Disney is under fire for filming parts of "Mulan" in Xinjiang province, where over one million Uighurs have been detained in internment camps.https://t.co/Q4TPCvstzJ #BoycottMulan pic.twitter.com/jFwedSIGkr
— Joshua Wong 黃之鋒 😷 (@joshuawongcf) September 9, 2020
While the Turpan Public Security Bureau has been accused of committing human rights violations and abuses in the region, the CCP’s Publicity Department is known to spread propaganda messages across Xinjiang.
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.
— Jeannette Ng 吳志麗 (@jeannette_ng) September 7, 2020
According to data released by the US State Department, as many as two million Muslim-majority Uighurs and other Turkic minorities have been imprisoned in massive re-education camps in Xinjiang since 2015, a CNN report stated.
The Chinese government has repeatedly refuted claims of housing minorities in detention centres, and has instead described them as vocational training centres. According to the government, the camps are necessary to fight Islamic extremism in the area. However, state authorities have been accused of verbal and physical abuse in documents and testimonies leaked from the camps.
This is not the first controversy the film has generated in recent times.
Soon after its release, a number of pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong called for its boycott over comments made by the film’s lead actress Yifei Liu in support of the city’s police, who have been accused of violently cracking down on anti-government protesters.
The 33-year-old actress, who was born in China but is a citizen of the United States, took to popular Chinese social media platform Weibo to share the words of Fu Guohao, a reporter for the Chinese Communist Party-run media outfit Global Times, who was assaulted by a group of pro-democracy demonstrators and was later touted as a ‘hero’ on Chinese social media.
“I support the Hong Kong police. You can beat me up now,” her post read. In another post shared soon after, she wrote: “I also support the Hong Kong police.”
Yifei’s post was widely condemned on social media, and before long #BoycottMulan began trending on Twitter — a platform that is banned in China.