A remake of the cartoon Mulan from Disney, already boycott target, has been criticized for filming in Xinjiang, the site of alleged massive human rights violations against Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities.
The film, directed by Nicky Caro, is an adaptation of the 1998 Disney cartoon about Hua. Mulan, a young woman who disguises herself as a man to fight in the imperial army in place of her father.
The remake drew criticism when actor Liu Yifei, who plays Mulan, said she supported the Hong Kong police in their often brutal repression of pro-democracy protesters.
Following the release of the film last Friday, observers noted another controversial element: In the end credits, Disney pays “special thanks” to eight government agencies in Xinjiang, including the public security bureau in Turpan, a city in eastern Xinjiang where several re-education camps are located. were documented…
The film also expresses gratitude to the “Advertising Department of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomy Committee of the CCP”, the Chinese Communist Party’s Propaganda Department in Mt. Xinjiang… Disney was approached for comment.
China has faced international scrutiny of its treatment of Muslim minorities in Xinjiang, where an estimated at least 1 million residents have been detained in extrajudicial internment camps. Uyghur women reported forced sterilization and birth control as part of the government’s campaign to reduce the birth rate, which experts called “demographic genocide.”
Prior to his release, Mulan was shot at about 20 locations in the city, according to media reports. Chinaincluding the Mingsha Shan Desert, part of which is in Xinjiang, and the Tuyuk Valley, an oasis village east of Turpan.
Activists calling for a boycott of the film are now highlighting its ties to Xinjiang, while researchers noted that the public security bureau in Turpan is monitoring at least 14 internment camps in the region of.
In 2017, during a reconnaissance mission, Karo posted a photograph of the rolling desert dunes and tagged the image as Asia / Urumqi, referring to the capital of Xinjiang. One comment under Caro’s post read: Shame on you, #BoycottMulan, and oppose the #Uyghur #genocide! “
The film follows Mulan as she joins the imperial army to defend the region called “Northwest China” from the nomadic Juan invaders from what is now Mongolia. The film is also released at a time when the inhabitants of Inner Mongolia, an autonomous region of China, protesting against the mandatory introduction of Mandarin language teaching and the gradual erasure of their language and culture.
“All of this is fueled by the current national myth of China with inalienable borders. It’s not just that the film was partially filmed in Xinjiang, a place where genocide is currently taking place, ”said Jeannette Ng, a British-Hong Kong science fiction writer. “The point is, this film portrays those people whose culture is being destroyed as bad guys, while extolling Han domination and Chinese nationalism.”
Portions of the story unfold along the Great Silk Road. The Xinjiang area was once an important part of the route. Film Production Designer Grant Major, told Architectural Digest that he and the production team spent “months in and around Northwest Xinjiang to research the work before the cameras turned on.”
Grant said the team consulted with Chinese scientists so that “we could extrapolate what we found and just use our creativity to make it feel right.”