Disney’s best-selling “Mulan” is the subject of many boycott talks around the world when it is released on streaming platforms. The credits, thanks to the Chinese authorities, accused of oppressing the Uighurs, go wrong.
Disney magic’s magic to work in the land of the Uighurs. The Disney movie “Mulan”, which has just been released on the Disney + platform, is the subject of boycott talks aimed at specifically protesting the filming of certain scenes in the region. Chinese Xinjiang, where Beijing is accused of violating Uighur rights.
The $ 200 million leap, based on the legend of a Chinese warrior, was already the subject of controversy last year. Chinese-American actress LiuYifei, who plays the title role, then expressed her support for the Hong Kong police, accused by the Democratic Party of suppressing protests.
>> To see: Uighurs, by force from the camps
But recently a new controversy has arisen. Last week, when it was broadcast on the Disney + streaming platform, viewers noticed that Disney in the credits addressed “a special thank you” to authorities in Xinjiang, which is located in northwest China.
Among the latter are public security offices in Turpan, a city in eastern Xinjiang where there are several Uyghur political retraining camps, according to human rights organizations.
The department responsible for the Chinese Communist Party in this region is also thanked.
Even before this new controversy, Taiwanese, Hong Kong and Thai activists launched a movement on social networks with the hashtag # BoycottMulan.
Called the “Milk Tea Alliance”, it is the result of a gathering of activists condemning Beijing’s authoritarianism.
This movement particularly emphasized the similarity between actress TziMa, who plays the father of Mulan, with Chinese President Xi Jinping and qualified as “real Mulan” activist AgnesChow, following her arrest in August.
Since the movie aired on Disney +, the phenomenon has grown, especially in the US and Europe.
On Twitter, Joshua Wong, who for international opinion embodied the democratic movement in Hong Kong, called on “people everywhere who love freedom” to boycott “Mulan”.
For its part, Amnesty International points out that this blockbuster was fired in a region in China where Uighurs are interned in camps.
Rights groups, journalists and academics have condemned the detention of members of the Uighur Muslim minority, as well as mass detention and forced sterilization.
For Isaac Stone Fish of the Asia Society, a center that specializes in US-China relations, this film is “arguably Disney’s most problematic film” since “Melody from the South.”
When it was released in 1946, the latter had aroused many critics who accused it of spreading racist clichés and of painting the slave plantations in the old south of the United States in an idyllic light.
“Disney thanked four propaganda departments and a public security agency in Xinjiang (…) which is the site of one of the worst human rights violations in the world today,” he said. he writes in the Washington Post.
Badiucao, a dissident Chinese artist living in Melbourne, made a drawing showing Mulan as a guard at one of the detention camps in Xinjiang.
“This is a real problem and there is no excuse,” he told AFP, stressing the existence of “evidence of what is happening in Xinjiang.”
Baduicao accuses Disney of “double standards” by joining movements against social injustice in the West, such as #MeToo and Black LivesMatter, while turning a blind eye to how China violates rights.
This new version of “Mulan”, which was released in cartoon in 1998, has seen other disappointments. It was released on the big screen, scheduled for spring, has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Disney has therefore decided to broadcast it exclusively from September 4 on its video on demand platform. This is due to theaters around China this week, where Disney + is not available.
In August, Hollywood was accused in a report published by the Pen America organization of censoring itself for letting its films reach the massive Chinese market.
Screenwriters, producers and directors are making changes of all kinds in the hope of reaching the 1.4 billion consumers in China, according to Pen America, an American association to protect freedom of expression. Disney has not yet responded to a request for comment.