News

Disney’s ‘Mulan’ is facing an online boycott, here’s what you need to know

The live-action film version of Disney’s Mulan is facing renewed boycott calls from pro-democracy Hong Kong activists ahead of its release on Friday.

Mulan: feminist, progressive queen, right? Maybe wrong, according to Hong Kong activists, who are shunning the new live-action remake with calls for a boycott.

The criticism comes after controversial pro-police comments were made by Mulan star Liu Yifei last year, whilst Disney’s ties to China are scrutinised ahead of the film’s release on Friday to streaming service Disney+.

Mulan boycott disney

You might recall massive demonstrations in Chinese-controlled-Hong-Kong last year. Basically these protests, which are still continuing, advocate for more democratic practices from China’s ruling of the region – or best case scenario, political independence for Hong Kong.

In particular, young people sought to block a law which would see those who China deemed as criminals to be taken to the mainland for punishment. With the increasing hostility between the two regions, there are real fears that Hong Kong criminals would be unjustly treated or even tortured by Chinese law enforcement if extraditing citizens became legal.

But what does this have to do with Disney’s Mulan remake?

The film’s Chinese heroine, American born Lui Yifei, flung the film into the political arena last year when she posted to the state-controlled publication, Beijing People’s Daily. The publication was in support of the Hong Kong Police, who, at the time, were being blasted for their widely reported brutality towards citizens. Yifei went onto tell pro-democracy activists, “You can all attack me now. What a shame for Hong Kong.”

Her comments stirred up controversy at the time but it has simmered amidst the constant rescheduling of the film’s release due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, with its confirmed launch onto Disney+ and scheduled premiere in Asian theatres from September 11, activists have knuckled down on their calls for the film’s boycott, using these pro-Hong Kong police comments as a driving force.

The activists in question are credited as online pro-democracy protesters the MilkTeaAlliance, hailing from Asian countries and banding together to discuss China’s growing influence on the Hong Kong region.

Alongside Yifei’s comments, the MilkTeaAlliance have also been highly critical about Disney’s ties with China as a reason to steer followers away from the film. Reportedly, Disney has tweaked film scripts to adhere to censorship laws to ensure distribution in China, which is the second-biggest movie market in the world.

The MilkTeaAlliance have made waves on Twitter, helping educate the public on the harm of Disney’s Mulan.