Liu Yifei, the star of Disney’s upcoming live action remake of Mulan, is being heavily criticised on social media after a post she made on Weibo – a popular social media platform in China – was seen to be in support of the controversial actions of the Hong Kong police force. The police force has been accused of using excessive force against pro-democracy protesters, including violence and the use of tear gas.
There is now a social media movement calling for a boycott of Mulan, which you can track on Twitter via #BoycottMulan.
Pro-democracy civilian protests in Hong Kong have been taking place for weeks. Protests first emerged when a controversial amendment to criminal legislation was proposed that would ultimately give the Hong Kong government the power to extradite criminal offenders to China. This is problematic to Hong Kong citizens for a variety of reasons; one of the main ones being that the proposed law has the potential to compromise Hong Kong’s degree of autonomy from mainland China. This has caused fears that Hong Kong’s independent legal system could be compromised. Human rights protective mechanisms and practices in Hong Kong are superior to China’s; the latter has a lack of safeguards against human rights abuses and, in some circumstances, even uses television confessions in its legal system.
The Mulan star was criticised by social media users for supporting oppression and police brutality. Liu Yifei is a citizen of the United States, which only adds fuel to the social media fire; the public is further angered that Yifei is “denying Hong Kong citizens the rights she enjoys in her adopted country”.
An online critic wrote “Mulan is about a female taking control and fighting for her own destiny. Liu Yifei supporting an entity that assaults women who dare to voice their opinion shows her indifference”.
The translation of Yifei’s original Weibo post is “I support the Hong Kong police. You can all beat me up now”, followed by “What a shame for Hong Kong”, written in English. Although that initial post received some support initially on Weibo, the Twitter backlash was strong.
For weeks, millions of Hong Kong residents have participated in street marches in protest against the proposed law. Although the first protests were peaceful and based on the proposed amendment, they have continued following the “escalating” abuse of police powers in Hong Kong. Human rights organisations and the United Nations have also accused the Hong Kong police force of being heavy handed. The UN has called for an investigation amid evidence of injustice in the police treatment of protesters. The police used tear gas and rubber bullets in an attempt to fight back against thousands of pro-democracy protesters who had blocked roads and vandalised the Beijing liaison office with eggs.
There was even a case where a woman was hit in the eye by a projectile fired by police during one protest. It’s currently uncertain whether she will lose that eye or not; this has only added more rage to the protesters’ cause, particularly since Chinese nationalists allegedly tried to argue the case that the woman faked her injury or was hit by a protester.
Many of the protesters have settled on several demands of their government; including an independent investigation into the police brutality that has occurred throughout the protest, the release of charges against all protesters who were arrested during the protests, and the withdrawal of the proposed legislation on extradition.
Mulan will premiere in March 2020.
Feature Image: CNN