#BoycottMulan Trends After Star Liu Yifei Expresses Support for Hong Kong Police
Amnesty International has already condemned the police's treatment of the protesters.
Mulan star Liu Yifei has come under fire after retweeting her support for Hong Kong police and China during a series of escalating protests in Hong Kong. Liu retweeted a post on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are banned in mainland China) from the People’s Daily, a state-backed propaganda handle.
Liu posted, “I support the Hong Kong police. You can all attack me now. What a shame for Hong Kong,” on Weibo to her 66 million followers, adding the hashtag #IAlsoSupportTheHongKongPolice and a heart and a strong arm emoji. In response, #BoycottMulan is trending worldwide, with many users calling out Liu for supporting police brutality.
The protests in Hong Kong have been occurring since June, in response to a controversial extradition bill which would see Hong Kong dissidents extradited to China, where they would be at the mercy of China’s judicial system.
A record-shattering 2 million protesters took to the streets, earning international news coverage and support. The bill is now considered dead, but has yet to be formally withdrawn. Tensions continue to escalate, with an estimated 700 protesters arrested and an increase in violence from both sides. The HK police have used teargas, rubber bullets and beanbags, and have been criticized by Amnesty International for using excessive force.
Many are criticizing Liu’s support of China’s regime, especially since she is a naturalized American citizen. They are also calling out the bitter irony of her role as Mulan, a folk hero who stands up for the defenseless, while siding with China’s oppressive regime.
Disney’s Mulan actress, Liu Yifei, supports police brutality and oppression in Hong Kong.
Liu is a naturalized American citizen. it must be nice. meanwhile she pisses on people fighting for democracy.
— sean norton 🌹 (@sdnorton) August 15, 2019
The lead actress of @Disney remake of #Mulan, #LiuYifei, has lent her support to the oppressive #Chinese regime in suppressing freedoms; the very same she enjoys & benefits from overseas that #Hongkongers fight for at home. Time to #BoycottMulan 🤷♂️#FreeHongKong #LiberateHongKong pic.twitter.com/d74CjXBCQQ
— 何祺鋒 Anthony (@AnthonyKFHo) August 15, 2019
— AvaLanche (@avahmaria) August 16, 2019
Self-censorship and forced patriotism running high among chinese and hk celebrities these days, and has been increasingly so since these 2 months.
— Denise Ho (HOCC) (@hoccgoomusic) August 16, 2019
There are those who are defending Liu, saying that the actress may be under political duress, i.e. threats to her family/livelihood from the Chinese government, but at this point there is no proof that this is in fact the case.
It’s unclear what effect the proposed boycott will have on the live-action film, if any. Mulan doesn’t hit theaters until March 27th, 2020, and given the brief cycle of internet cancel culture, it’s likely no one will be talking about Liu or this hashtag in 7 months. It’s cynical, but highly likely.
Still, Liu’s take is undeniably a bad one, and one that reflects not only on her, but on this massive film that was assembled by hundreds of hard-working people who do not share or endorse her politics. It’s especially frustrating that this controversy is miring the first big budget Disney live-action film directed by a woman, Niki Caro.
Will Liu’s statement keep you from seeing Mulan in 2020?
(via Variety, image: Stephen Tilley/Disney Enterprises, Inc.)
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