Hong Kong is in the midst of political turmoil as anti-government protesters clash with police, and now Disney’s Mulan remake has become an unlikely flashpoint for debate.
First, a recap of the situation: after the Hong Kong legislature introduced a controversial bill that would allow criminal suspects to potentially be extradited to mainland China, citizens responded in mass protest, in what has since become a major movement over months with the identity of Hong Kong and its relationship with China at stake. The movement, which has seen mass protests, strikes, and civil disobedience, has led to major clashes between the police and the protesters.
Enter Liu Yifei, the Chinese-American actress cast as the eponymous heroine in Disney’s upcoming Mulan remake. Echoing a message first shared by the state-sponsored Chinese outlet People’s Daily, she posted an image on Weibo, China’s leading social media platform, reading, “I support Hong Kong’s police, you can beat me up now,” alongside the hashtag #ISupportTheHongKongPolice.
Now, as the Hollywood Reporter recaps, a movement to boycott the film has emerged among Hong Kong’s protesters and begun growing internationally.
The boycott seems to have originated from the Lihkg online forum used by many Hong Kong protesters, and local actions like protests as well as GoFundMe campaigns funding promotion of the event overseas have sprang up in the wake of Liu’s comments. Hong Kong protesters and their supporters worldwide have accused Liu Yifei of supporting police brutality and anti-democratic sentiments.
So far, there doesn’t appear to be any response from Disney or Liu to the growing boycott movement targeting the film, which is out in the United States on March 27, 2020. The film has already undergone criticism for historical inaccuracies in its portrayal of Mulan’s China.