With the release of Disney’s live-action remake of “Mulan,” pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong are now calling for the boycott of the well-awaited film. Their calls to the boycott began last year when the film’s lead actress Liu Yifei expressed her support for Hong Kong police, who protestors accuse of using excessive force and violence to suppress the protests. The Hong Kong Protests involved months of demonstrations against a law to allow extradition to mainland China. These protests started out as peaceful but later led to daily, violent clashes between demonstrators and law enforcement. At the height of the Hong Kong protests, in August of last year, Yifei, a Chinese-born US citizen, posted on Weibo, “I support the Hong Kong police. You can all attack me now. What a shame for Hong Kong.” Almost immediately after, cries to boycott and hashtags such as #BoycottMulan, #NotMyMulan, and #BanMulan were trending on Twitter.
Hong Kong activist, Joshua Wong, tweeted, “This film is released today. But because Disney kowtows to Beijing, and because Liu Yifei openly and proudly endorses police brutality in Hong Kong, I urge everyone who believes in human rights to #BoycottMulan.” Thai student activist Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal tweeted, “I invite everyone to #boycottMulan #banMulan to make Disney and the Chinese government know that state violence against the people is unacceptable.” These actions are joined by activists from many other countries including Taiwan, South Korea, and the United States. On the other hand, Twitter is banned in China so citizens voiced their agreement with Yifei’s comments via Weibo, one of the country’s largest social media platforms.
In China, where people were very supportive of Yifei’s controversial comments last year, the film is expected to be a huge success with audiences. This highly anticipated film is set to open in theaters there on September 11, 2020, as the boycotts in other countries continue.