Disney’s live-action Mulan can’t seem to catch a break. Following coronavirus delays and a #BoycottMulan campaign, the movie is now generating blowback for its end credits in which the studio thanks an official Chinese government security bureau linked to Uyghur concentration camps.
Mulan’s end credits include a special thank-you to the Turpan Municipal Bureau of Public Security, according to a screenshot from the movie. The city of Turpan, which is located in the northwestern Xinjiang region, runs a concentration camp for Uyghur Muslims where detainees are forced to recite Communist Party propaganda, according to a 2018 investigation by The Wall Street Journal.
Some former inmates told the Journal that prison officials forced them to eat pork, which is forbidden under Islam, and to pledge allegiance to Xi Jinping. China has denied that it runs concentration camps, calling them a “vocational training centers.”
The U.S. State Department has estimated that China has imprisoned potentially “millions” of Uighurs and other Muslims.
Mulan‘s credits also acknowledge various official Turpan bureaus as well as Chinese Communist Party publicity offices.
The left-wing Washington Post ran an op-ed on Monday slamming Disney’s decision to shoot scenes in Xinjiang.
“Why did Disney need to work in Xinjiang? It didn’t. There are plenty of other regions in China, and countries around the world, that offer the starkly beautiful mountain scenery present in the film. But in doing so, Disney helps normalize a crime against humanity,” wrote columnist Isaac Stone Fish, a senior fellow at the Asia Society’s Center on U.S.-China Relations.
The human rights groups World Uyghur Congress has also highlighted Disney’s involvement in the city of Turpan.
— WorldUyghurCongress (@UyghurCongress) September 7, 2020
Disney shot Mulan in China and New Zealand with an international cast and crew. The movie, which reportedly cost $200 million, recently opened in cinemas in China. In the U.S., Disney has skipped cinemas and released the movie on its Disney+ streaming service due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Mulan is facing boycott calls from pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong after star Liu Yifei expressed support for Communist China’s crackdown on demonstrators. “Because Disney kowtows to Beijing, and because Liu Yifei openly and proudly endorses police brutality in Hong Kong, I urge everyone who believes in human rights to #BoycottMulan,” activist Joshua Wong tweeted last week.
The Walt Disney Co. has cultivated close ties to Beijing. Disney has made massive investments in its theme parks in Shanghai and Hong Kong. The studio also relies on China’s box office might to propel its Marvel superhero movies to profitability.
Disney CEO Bob Iger has refused to publicly discuss China’s human rights abuses, saying last year that taking a position that could harm the company would be “a big mistake.”
With additional reporting by Gabrielle Reyes