(CNSNews.com) – Disney’s newly-released “Mulan” has run into a storm of international criticism over the revelation that some scenes were filmed in China’s Xinjiang region – where the filmmakers thanked Chinese Communist Party bodies, including the propaganda department and a public security bureau.
Calls for a boycott of the movie are proliferating on social media, given global concern about the plight of Muslim minority Uighurs in the far-western region.
Chinese authorities are accused of incarcerating more than a million Muslims in internment (re-education) camps, amid claims of a deliberate campaign of coerced sterilizations of Uighur women of child-bearing age.
The Trump administration has led global condemnation of a situation which Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has labeled “the stain of the century,” imposing visa restrictions on CCP officials linked to the abuses, and barring the export of some products to Xinjiang.
Mulan, a live-action remake of a 1998 animation feature by the same name, is the story of a legendary Chinese female warrior. It began streaming on the Disney+ channel last week, an unconventional release decision related to the coronavirus pandemic.
In the credits, Disney offers “special thanks” to eight government departments in Xinjiang, including the region’s CCP publicity department and the “bureau of public security” for the city of Turpan.
On Twitter, the hashtag #BoycottMulan was trending on Tuesday. Even before the Xinjiang-related development, activists in Hong Kong had been calling for a boycott, after the film’s star, Chinese-born Liu Yifei, shared a CCP newspaper’s online post expressing support for Hong Kong police during upheavals in the city last August.
“Why we should #BoycottMulan? It’s about hypocrisy,” tweeted Hong Kong pro-democracy campaigner Nathan Law on Tuesday. “In Hollywood movies, they claim to embrace social justice. In fact, they kowtow to autocratic China disgracefully. They shamed themselves by upholding values they don’t even believe in. Movies, should be more than money.
(Law recently fled the territory for Britain after the controversial national security law imposed by Beijing came into effect.)
Disney has not commented publicly about the controversy, and queries sent to the company’s press office brought no response by press time.
China is today the second-biggest movie market in the world, and the movie industry – like corporations in many other sectors – is anxious to tap into it.
The row comes less than two months after Attorney General Bill Barr, in a major speech on China, accused Hollywood of kowtowing to China in various ways, including censoring films to placate the CCP
One of the examples he offered dealt with Disney, which Barr recalled had apologized to China after its movies were banned there in response to a 1997 film about the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan Buddhist leader reviled by Beijing as a dangerous “splittist.”
“The Chinese Communist Party thinks in terms of decades and centuries, while we tend to focus on the next quarterly earnings report,” Barr said. “But if Disney and other American corporations continue to bow to Beijing, they risk undermining both their own future competitiveness and prosperity, as well as the classical liberal order that has allowed them to thrive.”
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), a leading critic of the CCP in Congress, tweeted Tuesday, “Disney is addicted to Chinese cash and will do just about anything to please the Communist Party. Disney even thanked the CCP thugs who are locking up people in concentration camps. This is evil behavior from a once-great American company.”
In London, Conservative lawmaker and former party leader Iain Duncan Smith raised the issue in parliament.
“The Disney company, it appears now, worked with the security services in Xinjiang [region],” he said. “That is the place that the Uighurs have suffered the most appalling abuse. It is these very security services that have been responsible for the forced sterilization of Uighur women. It is these very security services that have been rounding up those who have not cooperated, sending them to re-education camps.”
After initially denying the existence of the camps, China then said they were “vocational education” centers, designed to de-radicalize Muslims as part of its campaign against terrorism and extremism.