Protests and calls for boycotts of Disney's new film Mulan are spreading on Twitter after it was revealed that scenes from the film where shot in parts of China where the government is committing mass human rights abuses, including cultural genocide against ethnic minorities.
Human rights activists, non-governmental organisations and journalists have helped identify as many as 500 potential concentration camp and detention centre sites in Xinjiang using a combination of satellite imagery and eyewitness accounts.
The calls for boycott began blowing up earlier this week, when several social media users noticed the final credits, which thanked a government security agency in Xinjiang province, where more than one million Uyghur Muslims are being detained.
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.
— Jeannette Ng 吳志麗 (@jeannette_ng) September 7, 2020
"Mulan specifically thanked the publicity department of CPC Xinjiang Uyghur autonomous region committee in the credits. You know, the place where the cultural genocide is happening," tweeted novelist Jeanette Ng. "They filmed extensively in Xinjiang, which the subtitles call 'Northwest China.'"
The predominantly Muslim, Turkic-speaking ethnic minority have lived for years under increasingly expansive surveillance and repression in the region.
Just a reminder than Mulan was filmed in the same city where millions of Muslims are being held and tortured in concentration camps.
You can rewatch the cartoon #BoycottMulan
— layan elkhodari (@layan_elk) September 8, 2020
It was filmed in occupied East #Turkistan, where #Uyghur#Muslims are being detained, sterilized, exterminated and used as guinea pigs for COVID-19 vaccine and biological weapons testing. pic.twitter.com/FtkcLWAACn
— Abdugheni Sabit (@AbdugheniSabit) September 9, 2020
The action drama was originally scheduled for release in March 2020 but was delayed due to the global outbreak of COVID-19.
During a recent interview with Architectural Digest, the film's production designer, Grant Major, revealed that his team spent months "in and around the northwest province of Xinjiang".
Yesterday, British Conservative lawmaker Iain Duncan Smith in the UK parliament condemned Disney's work with the Xinjiang security agency as "appalling".
It appears that @Disney worked with a Chinese Gov security agency in #Xinjiang province where over 1m people mostly Muslim #Uighurs are thought to be detained, and a part of China where the Chinese Gov stands accused of serious human rights abuses. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/WSnlUgrXM3
— Iain Duncan Smith MP (@MPIainDS) September 8, 2020
"It is shameful that they turn a blind eye. It is shameful that they act as apologists for a regime now that brooks no dissent," Smith said of Western companies collaborating with the Chinese regime.
The Turpan public security bureau was put on the US commerce department's trade blacklist last year over its involvement in the regime's repression of Uyghur Muslims.
Moreover, the film was already coming under fire months ago, facing calls for a boycott by supporters of the Hong Kong anti-government protesters after lead actor, Liu Yi Fei, publicly expressed support for the police crackdown in Hong Kong.
Liu reportedly shared a social media post in August 2019 amid widespread protests in the former British territory, with the caption, "I support the Hong Kong police. You can all attack me now. What a shame for Hong Kong."
Pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong called publicly for a boycott, with #boycottMulan becoming the most popular hashtag on Hong Kong Twitter on September 5.
This Liu Yi Fe ie Mulan in the movie supports ChiNazi to suppress HK's freedom and democracy… she plays Mulan is a big ironic joke itself https://t.co/xR5Eas9oRH
— HumanRightsFighter (@Avenger83086738) June 27, 2020
"Because Disney kowtows to Beijing, and because Liu Yifei openly and proudly endorses police brutality in Hong Kong, I urge everyone who believes in human rights to #BoycottMulan," Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong tweeted.
This film is released today. But because Disney kowtows to Beijing, and because Liu Yifei openly and proudly endorses police brutality in Hong Kong, I urge everyone who believes in human rights to #BoycottMulan. https://t.co/utmP1tIWNa
— Joshua Wong 黃之鋒 😷 (@joshuawongcf) September 4, 2020
He added: "It just keeps getting worse! 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.