Disney has drawn a backlash for its indifference to religious freedom and human rights, cozying up to the Chinese Communist Party and filming parts of its new live action blockbuster Mulan in a city that incarcerates Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities.
In March, 2016, Disney threatened to boycott the state of Georgia over a religious freedom bill that guaranteed faith-based organizations and individuals the right to abstain from activities violating their “sincerely held religious beliefs.”
“Disney and Marvel are inclusive companies, and although we have had great experiences filming in Georgia, we will plan to take our business elsewhere should any legislation allowing discriminatory practices be signed into state law,” a Disney spokesman said at the time.
While Disney saw fit to punish Georgia for its zealous dedication to religious freedom, now the company has rewarded the Chinese Communist Party for its egregious violations of human rights and religious freedom.
Disney’s elected to film its live-action remake of Mulan in China’s Xinjiang province, the very site of China’s documented widespread human rights abuses against Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities. China has interned at least one million Muslims in Xinjiang extrajudicial concentration camps and officials have reportedly subjected Uyghur women to hard labor and torture as well as forced sterilizations and abortions.
In the final credits of the film, Disney offers “special thanks” to eight government entities in Xinjiang, including the public security bureau in Turpan, a city in eastern Xinjiang where several re-education camps are located.
The film also expresses thanks to the “publicity department of CPC Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomy Region Committee,” the Chinese Communist party’s propaganda department in Xinjiang.
Last fall, the United States Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security accused the Turpan Municipality Public Security Bureau of “acting contrary to the foreign policy interests of the United States.”
The bureau has been “implicated in human rights violations and abuses in the implementation of China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs, Kazakhs, and other members of Muslim minority groups,” the Department of Commerce said.
“This is another terrible example of corporate hypocrisy,” David Quinn, director of the Dublin-based Iona Institute for Religion and Society, told Breitbart News.
“Disney threatened to boycott Georgia because of its religious freedom law, but then thanks officials in Xinjiang province for their help in making Mulan, even though the worst human rights abuse in the world today, and the worst attack on religious freedom is taking place in that province,” Mr. Quinn stated. “It is scandalous.”
“Corporations like Disney make moralistic, ‘woke’ noises, but they only care about the bottom line,” Quinn concluded.
Asian Activists had already called for the boycott of the Mulan project on the grounds the actress playing the title character, Liu Yi Fei, has publicly expressed support for the police crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.
Human Rights Watch China director Sophie Richardson suggested that Disney’s public thanks to Xinjiang authorities could not but produce backlash “at a time when most of the global discussion about Xinjiang is about appalling mass detention of people outside of any legal process on the basis of their ethnic and religious identity, about forced labor, torture and unparalleled destruction of religious freedom.”
“I think it’s incumbent on Disney to explain what human rights due diligence they did in advance of cooperating with these authorities,” Ms. Richardson said.