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Mulan 2020 Sparks Controversy

Disney’s live-action remake of “Mulan” is now released - but some people won’t be watching it.

Calls to boycott “Mulan” followed immediately after the release of the film on September 4th, and soon enough #BoycottMulan was trending on Twitter, an app which is banned in China.

The film has drawn political controversy for its star Lui Yifei’s statement in support of the action of Hong Kong police against protestors, as well as the fact that “Mulan” was partly filmed in the Xinjiang region, where the Chinese government has held Muslim ethnic detention camps with over a million Uyghur Muslims.

In August 2019, during the Hong Kong protest movement, Yifei stated her support for the Hong Kong Police Force writing, “I support the Hong Kong police. You can all attack me now. What a shame for Hong Kong.”

The Hong Kong police received intense criticism from the Hong Kong citizens due to their excessive force against peaceful protesters, journalists, and medics. This brutality is supported by the Chinese Communist Party, as well as Yifei, a supporter of the government.

Although most of “Mulan” was filmed in New Zealand, there were scenes filmed in the Xinjiang region of China where more than one million Uyghur Muslims are being detained in concentration camps. Disney obviously needed permission from the government to film there and in the end of the movie they gave credit to the Chinese government thanking them for letting them film in Xinjiang.

According to an article for the Los Angeles Times newspaper, Rayhan Asat, an Uyghur graduate of Harvard Law School whose brother Ekpar Asat disappeared in 2016 after visiting the United States on a State Department-sponsored program and then was sentenced to 15 years in prison for “inciting ethnic hatred,” questioned whether Disney had done adequate human rights due diligence before filming.

“As a sister of a concentration camp victim, a woman and an attorney, I believe in female empowerment. But when I saw that they partnered with these Xinjiang agencies, I felt they were reducing Mulan from a symbol of female strength to an endorsement of female oppression,” Asat said, pointing to multiple reports of forced sterilization of Uyghur and other ethnic minority women within the concentration camps. “I am boycotting this film.”

Omer Kanat, executive director of the Washington-based Uyghur Human Rights Project, said Disney was papering over crimes against humanity rather than advancing its goal to uplift and inspire.

“We Uyghurs are suffering a living nightmare throughout our homeland, and now it turns out Disney was working with the police there,” Kanat said for the Los Angeles Times newspaper. “Disney needs to contact the Uyghur diaspora, apologize and make amends.”

Disney has admitted that the stack of controversies has caused problems for the studio. They admitted “Mulan” was mainly filmed in New Zealand, while only a part of the movie was filmed in Xinjiang. However, the movie still remains highly offensive for the Muslim community worldwide.

“Mulan” has become one of 2020’s most controversial movies. #BoycottMulan still remains a trending hashtag and petitions are being signed to stop Disney profiting from the Uyghur genocide.

Work Cited:

“How Disney's 'Mulan' Became One of 2020's Most Controversial Movies.” Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times, 11 Sept. 2020,

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