Disney is under fire for filming portion of its live-action reboot”Mulan” in Xinjiang, the region in China where the government has been accused of human rights abuses against Uighurs and other predominantly Muslim minorities.
The final credits from the film, which premiered on Disney Plus a week and has been rolled out in several states this month, thank propaganda divisions in Xinjiang and the public security bureau of Turpan, a Uighur-majority town in the area.
The final credits of Disney’s Mulan remake offer “special thanks” to eight government entities in Xinjiang, including the public security bureau in Turpan, a city in eastern Xinjiang where several re-education camps have been documented.https://t.co/Io8z3F0FNj pic.twitter.com/t2E5lR13Nv— Adam Tooze (@adam_tooze) September 7, 2020
More than 1 million Chinese Uighur Muslims are being detained in government internment camps in the Xinjiang region, according to the U.N.
China calls for the prison camps at Xinjiang province”re-education” facilities intended to fight extremism and separatism in the area. The U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China describes it as”the largest mass incarceration of a minority population in the world today.”
Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong and internet users in Taiwan and Thailand are among those who promoted hashtags”#BoycottMulan” and”#BanMulan” on Twitter, after this month’s launch of the film on Disney’s streaming platform.
MULAN: "In the credits, Disney offers a special thanks to Chinese institutions that helped with the film. These include 4 Communist Party propaganda departments in the region of Xinjiang as well as the Public Security Bureau of the city of Turpan"https://t.co/AceCBT1eVM— Thomas E. Ricks (@tomricks1) September 8, 2020
It will also be shown at cinemas in China — an increasingly significant market for Hollywood studios — by Sept 11.
Criticism of this live-action picture of a 1998 animated variant started last year when Mulan’s star, mainland Chinese-born celebrity Liu Yifei, expressed assistance on social media for authorities in Hong Kong, which was roiled at the time by anti-government unrest.
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Liu did not immediately respond to a request for comment via her account on Weibo, a popular Chinese microblogging site.
"Boycott Mulan" trends on Twitter after credits reveal region of China where movie was filmed https://t.co/hWHFPFV168— CBS News (@CBSNews) September 9, 2020
The film’s production designer, Grant Major, recently revealed in an Architectural Digest interview that his team spent “in and around the northwest province of Xinjiang.” Many are currently criticizing the filmmakers for shooting in an area identified with such widespread human rights abuses.
The U.S. has placed the Turpan Municipality Public Security Bureau about the Export Administration Legislation Entity List for having been”implicated in human rights violations and abuses from the implementation of China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, forced labor and high-technology surveillance against Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other members of Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.”
Amnesty International tweeted a link to a media report about the controversy and asked Disney,”Would you show us your human rights due diligence report?” A Washington Post opinion contributor called the movie a scandal, and one widely shared tweet indicated the Mulan team would have observed”reeducation camps” for Uighurs en route to filming places.
In addition to Xinjiang, the Mulan group has scouted and filmed in a number of places in China such as the cities of Xi’an and Dunhuang, according to director Niki Caro’s Instagram posts. The film has been partially filmed in New Zealand as well.
Disney did not respond to a request for comment.
The film, which is a remake of the popular 1998 animation, relies on the ancient Chinese tale of Hua Mulan, a young lady who chooses her father’s place in the military by dressing as a man.