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Disney's Mulan Faces Backlash for Thanking Chinese Region Marred by Human Rights Violations

Liu Yifei in a scene from Disney’s Mulan live-action remake.
Liu Yifei in a scene from Disney’s Mulan live-action remake.
Image: Disney

Disney’s Mulan is the story of a woman who overcomes systemic oppression to serve her country. But its message of fighting for one’s rights has been clouded, as Disney stands accused of overlooking actual oppression of Muslims in China to make its movie.

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Washington Post columnist Isaac Stone Fish and several folks on social media pointed out that the end credits on Disney’s Mulan, which was released on VOD over the weekend, feature a “special thanks” to eight government entities in the Xinjiang region.

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This includes four CCP propaganda departments and the Public Security Bureau in the city of Turpan. As pointed out by the New York Times, this is the area where several detention camps targeting the Turkish-speaking Uighur people are located. It’s believed that over one million Muslims (mainly from the Uighur minority) have been detained in these camps, with reports of brutal “reeducation” techniques, forced sterilization, and even death.

It’s unclear how much of Mulan was actually filmed in the Xinjiang region, but there were reports of the production team scouting the region before filming began. Plus, the fact that several government entities in the region were thanked indicates that some form of cooperation was achieved.

This newest controversy comes after the film’s star, Liu Yifei, faced calls for a boycott earlier this year after she openly supported the Hong Kong police crackdown on pro-democracy protesters last summer. Liu has since distanced herself from her comments, telling Entertainment Weekly that it’s a “very complicated situation, and I’m not an expert.” However, the attacks against protesters continue—over the weekend, Hong Kong police faced renewed criticism after tackling a 12-year-old girl to the ground during the ongoing protests.

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The detention camps in Xinjiang have been called some of the greatest human rights violations in recent memory—which made it shocking for some that Disney would not only scout and possibly film in the region, but also thank propaganda departments and security teams that may be party to those abuses against Muslim people in China. We’ve reached out to Disney for comment, but have not heard a reply.

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Mulan is currently available on Disney+ for $30, and is set to be released openly on the platform in December.


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Video Editor and Staff Writer at io9. My doppelganger is that rebelling greeting card from Futurama.

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DISCUSSION

I don’t blame Yifei for this, at least not completely, as I’m sure it’s a complicated situation. I 100% blame Disney and other companies for catering to an evil dictatorship though. Good time as any to remind everyone that corporations are never moral, they are only profit driven. Every time they give to charity, or support a worthy cause, or anything else “good,” it is only because they think it will make them money. They also will happily do anything “bad” as long as the profit outweighs the cost.