Disney movie Mulan boycott over human rights abuses

by Abby Nguyen

Disney’s new live-action movie “Mulan” faces backlash over its filming location, where millions of Muslims are being detained in concentration camps and its leading actress supporting Hong Kong police brutality. By boycotting “Mulan” and refusing to watch it, we send the message that we support universal human rights and do not tolerate a corrupt, violent police system.

The movie was filmed in China’s Xinjiang Province, where millions of Uyghurs, a Muslim ethnic group, are tortured in concentration camps. According to the British Broadcasting Corporation, China calls them “re-education camps,” but first-hand sources report that human rights are abused inside these camps, through forced labor, forced sterilization/abortions, prohibiting the practice of their religion, medical experimentation, indoctrination, forced marriages, beatings and death. In addition, the “Mulan” closing credits thank corrupt government organizations in Xinjiang Province, including an agency that produces state propaganda.

Some might say that the movie’s filming location does not mean that Disney supports China’s actions, but as a well-known international company with a young impressionable audience, Disney should not have filmed the movie where a cultural genocide is occurring.

Another issue affecting human rights is the Hong Kong police’s violent use of force to suppress the voices of their people. “I support the Hong Kong police,” “Mulan” actress Liu Yifei said in 2019“You can all attack me now. What a shame for Hong Kong.”

During that time, peaceful protestors faced tear gas, batons, rubber bullets, bean-bag rounds and water cannons while protesting against police brutality and the oppressive Chinese government. Organizations such as the United Nations and Amnesty International criticized the Hong Kong police’s use of force during protests. 

“Well, I think that first off, it’s a very complicated situation for performers who live in China and work in China,” Disney executive and “Mulan” producer Jason Reed said. “Obviously, the tensions between the two entities is very complicated. I’m not qualified to discuss that in depth. I’m here to represent the film.” 

Although Reed is not directly contributing to the problem, as the movie producer he should take responsibility and become more educated on the situation in China. By supporting organizations that abuse the rights of the people, Disney sends the message that they are okay with it. It is hypocritical of Yifei to play a strong character who fights against oppression, but still support China’s oppressive government. Despite the fact that Disney cannot control Yifei’s actions or her freedom of speech, they should be held accountable for not acknowledging the situation.

Since the Chinese government is extremely strict and secretive, very few countries are willing to provide aid to the people. Although Chinese citizens do not have much freedom, we as Americans do, therefore we have the ability to help people who do not have the option to speak up. Even though refusing to watch “Mulan” is a small step, it is one that will send the message that we do not support a company that refuses to acknowledge a situation that is destroying millions of innocent lives.

Abby Nguyen