Disney found itself amid Hong Kong’s political turmoil this morning after “Mulan” star Liu Yifei supported the Hong Kong police on social media. Choosing a side in the political situation has led many people to demand a boycott of the upcoming live-action Disney film, which is scheduled to release in March 2020. Yifei shared a post from the state-endorsed newspaper, People’s Daily, that read “I support the Hong Kong police. You can all attack me now.” Yifei added, “I also support the Hong Kong police.”
The original quote comes from Fu Guohao, a reporter for a state-run Chinese newspaper that was attacked by protestors at the Hong Kong airport. The Chinese government and its supporters have used this attack to portray the demonstrators as an angry mob and to justify the use of police, tear gas, projectile weapons, and arrests. Yifei’s post was shared to her 65M followers on the state-allowed Weibo social-media platform.
The volatile situation in Hong Kong has escalated over the past three months. Protests began when Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam introduced a bill that would allow criminal extraditions to mainland China. This bill comes with strong backing from the mainland, but pro-democracy advocates believe that it will only enable China to force its will on the people of Hong Kong further.
For several months now, the people have chocked the streets of Hong Kong, protesting against the bill and essentially shutting down the city. Multiple clashes with police have resulted in injuries on both sides, and the damage caused by the protests could end up costing the city millions of dollars.
While the protests caused economic and political turmoil at first, the police were called in to disperse the protestors and discourage anymore from joining. Members of the United Nations and Amnesty International have condemned the use of police during the once peaceful protest, and since then, the protests have turned violent, with police and protestors attacking one another.
Liu is a well-known actor in China, where she was born, and she spent parts of her life right here in New York City. As an Actor, Liu has appeared in several American films. While the repercussions for being silent on the debate are hard to see, there are usually stiff penalties for speaking out against the Chinese government when you’re a Chinese citizen. Most famous faces have chosen to be silent on the matter, or have supported the Chinese authorities like Yifei did earlier this week.
Niki Caro directed “Mulan” for Disney, working from a screenplay by Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver, and Elizabeth Martin & Lauren Hynek. The movie is based on the narrative poem “The Ballad of Mulan.” Joining Yifei Liu in the film are Donnie Yen as Commander Tung; Jason Scott Lee as Böri Khan; Yoson An as Cheng Honghui; Gong Li as Xianniang, and Jet Li as the Emperor.
The original animated movie released in 1998, but it didn’t open at the top of the box office. Directed by Barry Cook, the film opened in second-place behind FOX’s “The X-Files” with a $22.7M opening weekend. “Mulan” went on to make over $304M worldwide for the studio.
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