The highly anticipated live-action remake of Disney’s Mulan premiered on Disney + September 4th. This premiere is unique not only because of its at-home release but also because of the controversy surrounding it.
Mulan is a milestone for Asian representation in Hollywood, and with the recent spike in hate crimes against Asian-Americans, due to misinformed beliefs about COVID-19, a victory for the Asian-American community is well overdue. However, this movie is riddled with a plethora of issues.
Liu Yifei, who plays Mulan, faced stark criticism earlier this year when she expressed adamant support for Hong Kong police. She shared a pro-police comment on the social media platform Weibo.
For context, earlier this year the Chinese government attempted to expand their power in Hong Kong, much to the dismay of Hong Kong citizens. Citizens have been participating in pro-democracy demonstrations in hopes of protecting their autonomy. These demonstrations have been met by the Hong Kong police, who have been extremely violent with the demonstrators. There have been numerous allegations of police brutality and assault.
Protests are still raging to this day, and Liu Yifei has yet to apologize for her blatant disrespect for the citizens of Hong Kong, or her support for police brutality. Thousands of people took to social media to express their frustrations with the actress’ comments, and #boycottmulan trended for days.
It has also come to light that Mulan was shot in Xinjian Province, home to over 2 million Uyghur Muslims who are currently being held captive in what the Chinse government calls, “re-education camps.” These camps are notorious for detaining Muslim minorities, but little is known about the innerworkings of these internment camps.
Viewers of the most recent Disney film noticed an explicit thanks expressed to police in the areas where Mulan was filmed, police who are known to help run the concentration camps.
Earlier this year a foreign policy report declared that the treatment of Uyghurs in China reached the United Nations definition of genocide.
Mulan had the potential to be a beacon of light for many who have suffered great turmoil this year, but Disney has done many a great disservice by failing to recognize the harm they have caused to both the citizens of Hong Kong and the Uyghur Muslims.