Human rights groups are demanding accountability from Disney, who released the live-action “Mulan” remake over the weekend.
Some viewers noticed the end credits thanked a number of Chinese government entities in Xinjiang Province, among them the publicized department of CPC Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Committee.
This prompted many online to call Disney out for working with the alleged propaganda department in the Chinese region where the government is accused of perpetrating significant human rights abuses against the Uyghur Muslims and other Muslim minority groups, including detaining over one million people in re-education and internment camps.
Mulan specifically thank the publicity department of CPC Xinjiang uyghur autonomous region committee in the credits.
You know, the place where the cultural genocide is happening.
— Jeannette Ng 吳志麗 (@jeannette_ng) September 7, 2020
“It’s sufficiently astonishing that it bears repeating: Disney has thanked four propaganda departments and a public security bureau in Xinjiang, a region in northwest China that is the site of one of the world’s worst human rights abuses happening today.” https://t.co/RFiuBUAPZ8
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) September 8, 2020
So in Dec 2018 we called out McKinsey for holding a corporate retreat in Xinjiang. But what Disney did by filming Mulan in the epicenter of the Xinjiang detention camp network —and then thanking the security forces there in the credits — is on an entirely different level. https://t.co/gSHYljuTyv
— Mike Forsythe 傅才德 (@PekingMike) September 7, 2020
According to The Hollywood Reporter, a portion of the film was also shot in the Xinjiang Province. In an interview with Architectural Digest, the production team also discussed spending months in the region researching locations for filming.
Amnesty International called Disney out for filming in the province and offering special thanks to the Xinjiang government agencies, calling on the company to release a human rights due-diligence report.
The new Mulan movie was filmed in the region where China has Uyghur internment camps and there are “special thanks” for a Xinjiang government agency in the credits.@Disney, can you show us your human rights due diligence report?https://t.co/7IaPsYQtKW
— Amnesty International (@amnesty) September 8, 2020
The Chinese government has repeatedly called the claims of human rights abuses “baseless,” according to Sky News, and has said the detention camps are part of a peaceful program for security and economic development in the region.
“Mulan” has not been a stranger to political controversy. The film had already faced calls for boycott from critics of the Chinese government in Hong Kong after star Lie YiFei made comments on social media supporting police cracking down on pro-democracy protesters.
#BoycottMulan how tone deaf do you have to be to support police brutality when you just filmed a character who is supposed to stand against oppression in its raw form? Pound sand. pic.twitter.com/Ug8pfh3JPN
— Tom S. Foolery (@foolery_s) August 16, 2019
Liu isn't a victim somehow caught in the geopolitical crossfire. Neither is she an icon of feminism if she ignores the suffering of female protesters. She's instead an icon of authoritarianism willfully betraying the values Hollywood purports to champion. https://t.co/xL5iAWYb5V
— Joshua Wong 黃之鋒 😷 (@joshuawongcf) September 4, 2020
Disney CFO Christine McCarthy addressed the Uighur controversy at the Bank of America Virtual 2020 Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference this week, according to Deadline.
Answering a question about whether the backlash would impact the film’s commercial potential in China, McCarthy said: “I’m not a box-office prognosticator but it has generated a lot of publicity.
“Let me just put something into context. The real facts are that Mulan was primarily shot — almost in entirety — in New Zealand. In an effort to accurately depict some of the unique landscape and geography of the country of China for this period drama, we filmed scenery in 20 different locations in China. It’s common knowledge that, in order to film in China, you have to be granted permission. That permission comes from the central government.”
McCarthy added that it’s common practice around the world “to acknowledge in a film’s credits the national and local governments that allowed you to film there. So, in our credits, it recognized both China and locations in New Zealand. I would just leave it at that, but it has generated a lot of issues for us.”