Disney's live action remake of their popular 1998 animated film "Mulan", was released on September 4th for a premium price to Disney+ subscribers. The film has since become the subject of much controversy due to Disney's allegedly questionable filming decisions in Communist China.
Viewers of the film pointed out that in the credits, Disney recognizes and thanks several Chinese Communist Party propaganda agencies from the region of Xinjiang. This region of China is known for its Communist concentration camps where over a million Uyghur Muslims (a religious minority of the region) are imprisoned and sterilized. Together, the death toll of the concentration camps and sterilizations have caused the population to drop nearly 24% in the past year, thus making these acts legally defined as genocide.
Many Americans have therefore taken to boycotting the movie, utilizing the hashtag #boycottMulan. Notable Chinese native scholar and author Helen Raleigh has been very vocal with her distaste over the movie and its apparent message as well. In a statement, Raleigh explained that the initial draw of the original movie was "the message of a young person going through self-discovery, using self-determination and along the way she finds love." However, in the new version, Raleigh stated that "The kind of loyalty they demand is -- 'You do what the party tells you to do and you do not ask questions. You do not dissent. You should be ready to sacrifice yourself.' Raleigh and many others therefore see the movie solely as an attempt by Disney to "please the Chinese government and the authorities."
While Disney has not released an official statement on this controversy, Disney's CFO Christine McCarthy did attempt to clarify. McCarthy stated, "Let me just put something into context. The real facts are that Mulan was primarily shot - almost in entirety - in New Zealand. In an effort to accurately depict some of the unique landscape and geography of the country of China for this period drama, we filmed scenery in 20 different locations in China. It's common knowledge that, in order to film in China, you have to be granted permission. That permission comes from the central government." McCarthy would go on to explain that this was the reasoning for the recognition and thanks during the credits of the film.
Despite what many believe to be an obvious attempt at pleasing the Chinese Communist Party, Mulan has not performed well in the Chinese box office, bringing in only about a quarter of the film's $200 million dollar production budget.