Disney faces backlash for filming ‘Mulan’ in Xinjiang

Walt Disney Co’s release of the live-action feature Mulan has provoked a backlash on social media over being partially filmed in Xinjiang region and over its star’s support of the Hong Kong police.

The backlash over the film started last year, when lead actress Liu Yifei showed support for Hong Kong’s police on social media, who have been accused of violence towards pro-democracy protesters. The controversy has only released further after the release of the film on Disney+.

According to reports, Disney has included a “special thanks” in the credit sequence to the “publicity department of CPC Xinjiang Uighur Autonomy Region Committee”. The film has been partially shot in the Xinjiang province, where human rights abuses have been reported, including the detainment of over one million Uighur Muslims.

China refers to the facilities as voluntary education centres designed “to improve the region’s security and economic development.” But according to a report, “Uighur residents have reported being subjected to grueling political indoctrination regimens, forced labor, and forced sterilisation — part of an alleged government program to suppress birth rates in the Muslim population.”

“It just keeps getting worse!” Hong Kong pro-democracy advocate Joshua Wong tweeted. “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.”

Mulan is based on a 2000 year old Chinese legend of a girl who disguises herself as a boy to join the army to fight the Huns. The film is set to premiere in China this Friday, which the studios hope it will do better than the animated version more than 20 years ago.

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