Disney under fire for filming Mulan remake in China’s Xinjiang province

There are fresh calls to boycott Disney’s new Mulan film because it was shot in parts of China where the government is accused of serious human rights abuses.

It comes a year after the live-action film’s main star sparked anger over comments supporting Hong Kong‘s police and a crackdown on pro-democracy protesters.

The controversy surrounding the remake of the much-loved 1998 animation movie was reignited this week after fans noticed the final credits thanked a government security agency in Xinjiang province, located in the northwest of the country.

The Chinese government has been accused of oppressing and breaching the human rights of the Uighur people and other Muslim minorities in the autonomous region.

Image: Uighurs are predominantly Muslim

Disney has not commented on the calls to boycott the movie.

There have been widespread reports of Uighur people being held against their will in “re-education” centres, undergoing forced contraception and being subjected to a range of other restrictions.

China says the claims are “baseless” and has repeatedly denied any mistreatment of Uighurs, saying they live in “peace and harmony”.

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The live-action film, which is one of the first big movie releases since the coronavirus pandemic shut down cinemas and film production across the world, is about a young girl who takes her father’s place in the army.

Fans in some Asian countries previously called for a boycott of the remake after Chinese-born actress Liu Yifei made comments on Chinese social media platform Weibo in support of a police crackdown on post-democracy protesters.

She added an “IAlsoSupportTheHongKongPolice” hashtag with a heart and arm-flexing emojis.

Mulan actress Liu Yifei has shown public support for Hong Kong police
Image: Mulan actress Liu Yifei has shown public support for Hong Kong police

The film has most recently sparked a social media storm after users picked up on Disney thanking a number of government entities in Xinjiang, including the Publicity Department of CPC Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Committee and the Publicity Department and Bureau of Public Security for the city of Turpan.

One social media user wrote: “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. They filmed extensively in Xinjiang, which the subtitles call ‘Northwest China’.”

The World Uygar Congress also tweeted: “In the new Mulan, Disney thanks the public security bureau in Turpan, which has been involved in the internment camps in East Turkistan.”

South Korean supporters of Hong Kong protesters participate call for a boycott of Mulan
Image: South Korean supporters of Hong Kong protesters call for a boycott on Disney’s Mulan remake

Hong Kong pro-democracy activist also criticised Disney, tweeting that viewers of the film are “potentially complicit in the mass incarceration of Muslim Uyghurs”.

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Mulan is currently only available online in the US and Australia, but it has begun showing in cinemas in Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and the Middle East.

It will premiere in movie theatres in China next week.



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