Disney’s $200 million live action remake Mulan faces controversy

Filming in Xinjiang, star’s support of Hong Kong police causes backlash


Elise Wood

Disney’s new live action “Mulan” premiering on Disney +, September 4th 2020, for audiences to watch at home, despite controversy over filming in Xinjiang.

Disney is facing worldwide backlash over their new live action remake of Mulan, which premiered September 4th, after thanking Xinjiang authorities, who are involved with holding Uighur Muslims in detainment camps, in their credits.

“The movie’s credits offer “special thanks” to a number of Chinese Communist Party and government agencies, including eight in Xinjiang, a mountainous frontier abutting Central Asia that about 12 million Turkic-speaking Muslim Uighurs regard as their homeland,” The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) said.  Many of the Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang are being detained by the Chinese Communist Party.

According to an article by WSJ, Grant Major, who worked on the film, said “a small portion of the shooting took place in Xinjiang. Film shoots anywhere in China require permission from local authorities.” 

Disney wasn’t just thanking officials, they were trying to become more popular in China.

“Making a “Mulan” that appeals to China fits into Disney’s larger mission of courting Chinese consumers, drawing them to its stores and theme parks in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Disney put months of research into “Mulan” and shared the script with Chinese authorities to ensure it would play in Chinese theaters,” said  the WSJ article.

Controversy over the film is also complicated by the support of the star, Liu Yifei, of Hong Kong police, which led to the use of the #BoycottMulan hashtag on social media.

“I don’t want to watch it,” said Amity Taylor, HHS freshman, when asked how she felt about watching the movie because of the credits.

Other HHS students still want to watch the movie.

“I think it would be a really good movie,” Madison Shelton, HHS freshman, said while explaining why she still wanted to watch the movie.

Some HHS students were unaware of the disputes surrounding Mulan.

“No, I did not know that,” Meredith Sanford, HHS freshman, said when asked if she had heard about the problems consumers have with the Mulan credits.

However, some students had already heard about the problems consumers have with the film.

Taylor said she “actually did know about” the connection between “Mulan” and the Xinjiang camps.

For some HHS students, learning about the controversy surrounding “Mulan” did not change the way their opinion of the movie.

Shelton said that knowing about the connection to Xinjiang would “probably not” affect the way she felt about “Mulan”.

Many students are unsure of how this affects people here.

“I feel like it might have offended a lot of people,” Shelton said. There is no proof that Disney supported the Xinjiang camps by filming in Xinjiang.

“It couldn’t be determined how Disney or the “Mulan” production crew cooperated with authorities in Xinjiang, though some senior crew members previously indicated they had traveled to that region to prepare for the production,” the WSJ article said.