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The movement to #BoycottMulan has exploded on Twitter after the star of Disney’s live-action Mulan remake posted a statement voicing her support for Hong Kong police on the Chinese microblogging service Weibo.
Mulan lead actress, Chinese-American Crystal Liu Yifei, on Wednesday shared a graphic from China’s state-run newspaper The People’s Daily. “I support the Hong Kong police, you can beat me,” a translation of the graphic said, according to NBC News.
“I also support the Hong Kong Police,” Liu commented on the reblog of the graphic to her 65 million followers.
Disney’s Mulan actress, Liu Yifei, supports police brutality and oppression in Hong Kong.— sean norton 💥 (@sdnorton) August 15, 2019
Liu is a naturalized American citizen. it must be nice. meanwhile she pisses on people fighting for democracy.
retweet please. HK doesn’t get enough support. #BoycottMulan @Disney pic.twitter.com/FpECIdutH2
Some saw Liu’s words as willfully negligent of the oppression that Hong Kong protesters are facing at the hands of the police force, with some asserting that Liu’s American citizenship has led her to be unsympathetic. Liu was born in China and moved to the U.S. when was 10. After living there for approximately five years, she became a U.S. citizen but eventually returned to China to further build her career.
#BoycottMulan— FreedomHK (@hasminedraws1) August 15, 2019
Mulan's actor, liu yifei, supports the police brutality in HK. Girl had the gall to say this when she's a chinese-american ENJOYING HER FREEDOM in the US.
As a concerned HK Citizen, thank you for speaking up!— Jimmy Jim 🇭🇰 (@JimManYui2) August 15, 2019
Much appreciated 🙏🏼🇭🇰
We HK Citizens oppose separation of HK & China, but hope the gov’t will respond positively to our 5 Demands, including democracy, as promised in the Basic Law, HK’s de-facto constitution. #BoycottMulan pic.twitter.com/NmeriRoFiq
Liu’s statement comes amidst protests that have been the site of rampant police brutality as Hong Kong citizens continue to demonstrate for their desire for democracy and the full withdrawal of an extradition bill. The bill would have allowed criminals to be transferred between Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China. In the eyes of Hong Kong citizens, the bill was seen as an attempt by the Chinese mainland to overstep the bounds of autonomy that Hong Kong enjoys under the “one country, two systems” policy.
China is a huge market for any Western released blockbuster. The Chinese box office accounted for over $600 million of the approximately $2.8 billion made by Avengers: Endgame. However, with the Mulan remake not scheduled to open until March 27, 2020, it remains uncertain whether Liu’s pro-police sentiments will affect the film’s public reception and box office results in China.
Mulan isn’t the first live-action Disney remake to face controversy. The Little Mermaid’s casting of Halle Bailey incited a racist uproar among people who didn’t like that Ariel would be played by a Black woman.
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Ignacio Martinez is a journalism student at the University of Texas at Austin and an intern at the Daily Dot. His work has appeared in the Texas Observer and on the airwaves at KVRX 91.7 FM.