I haven’t seen the live-action Mulan film and don’t have any intention of doing so. It turns out that Disney filmed this at least partly in the Xinjiang region of China, the same area where more than a million Uighurs have been rounded up and put into concentration camps where they are drilled on communist propaganda until they can convincingly spout it themselves. Not only did Disney have the permission of the Chinese government to film in the region, they even thanked some of the authorities who are involved in the camps in the credits of the film:
Disney (DIS) acknowledges several Chinese government bodies in the credits for the live-action remake of the 1998 animated picture of the same name, but a few in particular have raised red flags: The Xinjiang government’s publicity department and the Public Security and Tourism bureaus for Turpan, a city of about 633,400 people just outside Xinjiang’s capital Urumqi…
The Turpan Public Security Bureau has been listed by the US government as an organization involved in “human rights violations and abuses” in the region…
In 2017, Mulan director Niki Caro posted a photo from Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang and said she was scouting out locations for the film. And in an interview in September with Conde Nast traveler, Mulan production designer Grant Major discussed filming in Xinjiang’s Taklamakan Desert, in the region’s far southwest.
Adrian Zenz, a leading academic at the Victims of Communism Foundation who has helped break major stories from Xinjiang, said that the earliest documented case of a re-education center in the region was in Turpan in 2013.
Zenz said that while it was possible Disney didn’t know about the growing number of detention centers set up across Xinjiang, the widespread oppression in the region was impossible to miss.
“There were police stations and checkpoints all over Xinjiang by late 2016, not to be missed,” he said.
In short, it’s not credible that Disney was unaware it was making this movie in a region that is a police state aimed at wiping out the culture of a specific minority group. But this isn’t the only political problem the film has faced. The film’s star Liu Yifei said last year, “I support the Hong Kong police. You can all attack me now. What a shame for Hong Kong.” Hong Kong political activist Joshua Wong said last week that this was Disney kowtowing to Beijing.
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. https://t.co/utmP1tIWNa
— Joshua Wong 黃之鋒 😷 (@joshuawongcf) September 4, 2020
By the way, I haven’t seen anyone say this specifically, but a film like Mulan involves thousands of people and tens of millions of dollars. Stars of such films have contracts which usually require them to put in significant time promoting the film around the world. I’m sure they also have clauses in their contracts about not doing anything that would damage the film’s prospects. All that to say, it strikes me as very, very unlikely that the star of Mulan said on social media without first passing it by her Disney handlers. In any case, if Disney was surprised I don’t see any condemnation of it at the time.
What put all of this in context for me was a tweet by Ben Shapiro:
It's almost as if this is mostly insincere corporate bulls*** designed to earn maximum international dollars while profiting from self-flagellating virtue signalling. This is woke-ism for fun and profit.
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) September 9, 2020
He’s exactly right. Back when Mulan was still in production last year, Disney CEO Bob Iger explained how difficult it was to work in a place like Georgia where a Republican legislature had passed a law making abortion illegal after the detection of a fetal heartbeat. Here’s Iger at the time:
Disney’s chief executive, Bob Iger, said on Wednesday it would be “very difficult” for the company to continue filming in Georgia if the state’s highly restrictive abortion law is carried out.
Iger’s comments, made in an interview with Reuters, were the strongest sign yet that Hollywood could pull back from Georgia, which has lured television and film producers with generous tax breaks, but has also at times repelled the industry with its politics.
“I rather doubt we will” continue filming in the state, Iger said. “I think many people who work for us will not want to work there, and we will have to heed their wishes in that regard.”
Disney couldn’t work in a state with a restrictive abortion law, but was grateful and happy to produce Mulan in a Chinese region where forced abortion and sterilization is common:
While individual women have spoken out before about forced birth control, the practice is far more widespread and systematic than previously known, according to an AP investigation based on government statistics, state documents and interviews with 30 ex-detainees, family members and a former detention camp instructor. The campaign over the past four years in the far west region of Xinjiang is leading to what some experts are calling a form of “demographic genocide.”
The state regularly subjects minority women to pregnancy checks, and forces intrauterine devices, sterilization and even abortion on hundreds of thousands, the interviews and data show. Even while the use of IUDs and sterilization has fallen nationwide, it is rising sharply in Xinjiang.
So that’s where Disney stands. Conservative Americans (and their elected officials) so disgust the company and its CEO that they would rather flee a state than continue to work there, but Chinese communists crushing the freedoms of millions of people in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, well, that’s fine so long as Disney can sell their products in China.