Disney has defended its decision to thank Chinese communist entities responsible for egregious human rights abuses in Xinjiang in the credits for their latest live-action film Mulan, arguing that it is “standard practice across the film industry worldwide.”
Mulan’s end credits include a special thank-you to the Turpan Municipal Bureau of Public Security. Authorities in Turpan, located in the northwestern Xinjiang region, are currently a concentration camp for Uyghur Muslims where detainees are reportedly subject to slavery, brainwashing, torture, and a form of cultural genocide.
According to a letter addressed to and posted by prominent former British politician Iain Duncan Smith, Disney’s president of film production Sean Bailey argues that it is standard practice across the film industry worldwide to acknowledge in a film’s credits the cooperation, approvals, and assistance provided by various entities and individuals over the course of a film’s production.”
“In this case, the production company Beijing Shadow Times provided our production team with the list of acknowledgments to be included in the credits for ‘Mulan,” the letter states. “I hope this clarification puts this issue in proper perspective.
Duncan Smith, a former leader of Britain’s Conservative Party, described the reply to his letter of inquiry as “very weak and full of platitudes.”
“The reality is that Disney simply does not want to offend China, and have given in to China’s demands and will not stand up to them,” he argued. “Disney’s corporate policy does not appear to care about the human rights issues affecting the Uighurs. It seems human rights come second to the corporate policy of not upsetting China.”
Disney's corporate policy does not appear to care about the human rights issues affecting the #Uighurs. It seems human rights come second to the corporate policy of not upsetting China. (2/2) pic.twitter.com/3wXVQLuVOf
— Iain Duncan Smith MP (@MPIainDS) October 8, 2020
Despite being based on Chinese culture, the film has bombed in the country itself, posting disappointing global box office figures on its release compared to other films in the post-lockdown era. Last month, Chinese authorities banned all major media coverage of the film over concerns it could raise questions damaging to their international image.