After a long-awaited release of the remake of the Disney animated film Mulan, the movie premiered on Disney+ for rent a few weeks ago. However, after seeing the movie, it left fans and viewers alike confused and angered for several reasons.
Firstly, (the biggest reason of all), in the credits scene, Disney thanks government entities in Xinjiang, China, including four propaganda departments. The Xinjiang region is the location of the reeducation camp of Uyghur Muslims and Turkish Muslims.
There is a massive genocide going on over there that it is commonly referred to as “The Second Holocaust”. Families are being separated, tortured, raped, and forced to do things that go against their religion, such as eating pork and drinking alcohol.
This reeducation camp has been going on since 2017 and the fact that Disney is thanking them for helping them film their movie is just mind-boggling. There are so many other regions in China where they could have filmed.
Since Mulan was mainly filmed in New Zealand, it does not make sense why they would go to Xinjiang out of all places. Why show support to this region when it has done nothing but continuously harm its people, especially Uyghur and Turkish Muslims?
Though I do not know much of this region’s history, its current history stands out and China continues to deny all allegations of abuse towards Uygur and Turkish Muslims (although they do confirm that the camps exist).
Those that have fled the camps have shared their experiences and we can further see the camps’ identity with the use of their databases and the government’s documents as evidence.
Secondly, actress Yifei Lui, who plays Mulan, shared a viral pro-police video on a Chinese social media platform called Weibo in 2019, where she added:
“I also support the Hong Kong police. You can beat me up now, what a shame for Hong Kong.”
Not only is she supporting police brutality in Hong Kong, but she is also making fun of protestors who are getting hurt by police for speaking their minds about democracy.
Yifei Lui also posted this comment during the time of the introduction to the extraction bill, where criminals, under specific cases, could be extracted to a different mainland of China.
Due to this bill, protests became very violent on the part of the police. By saying “you can beat me up now,” she was adding fuel to the flames. People are getting beaten up by the police and her comment makes it very clear that all the protests and beatings amuse her. This is very disappointing.
In the end, the bill got suspended. As a result, everything is now uncertain for the people of Hong Kong, who fear the loss of their autonomy.
After Yifei Lui’s comment, the hashtag #BoycottMulan has been trending, with ex-fans saying things like how Yifei Lui has ruined Mulan and their childhood for them, among other hateful comments towards the actress.
Yifei Lui has every right to her opinion; however, as an actress, there are just some things that are better not being shared with millions of people, especially when you are the face of a highly anticipated film, let alone a Disney film.
Not only did the film get backlash for political reasons, but it also got terrible reviews, such as “not worth $30” and “ruined a great.” Many people were very disappointed due to the changes made to the film, like the elimination of Mushu, the primary source of comedic relief, and, most importantly, the singing.
The movie is not a musical because they wanted the film to be realistic, meaning no singing and no talking dragon. The film stays more true to the legends and to the original poem of Mulan than its animated counterpart. For example, Mulan is a trained fighter of 12 years in Mixed Martial Arts, which we see is evident in the film, but not in the animated version.
People did not like these additions and eliminations because it made the movie duller and just about training for war instead of a funny rendition of a bunch of soldiers trying to learn how to fight. In a way, I understand why people are upset, but I also understand why the writers tried a different approach to the retelling of Mulan.
By Talia Atallah