By Kiera Kofkin-Hansen
#BoycottMulan is a hashtag trending on Twitter and various other social media platforms and has been for almost two weeks now. The reason behind people’s negative views towards Disney’s newest live action film is mainly due to controversial tweets posted by the lead actress Liu Yifei supporting the Hong Kong police and seemingly disapproving of the pro-democracy protests, which have unfortunately turned violent as a result of police brutality.
The Chinese government has long been in control through the Communist Party, but Hong Kong’s government had always differed from the rest of the country — up until now. Hong Kong was a British colony for the better part of a century, and therefore had a different governing style and way of life for its citizens compared to the rest of the country. However, in 1997, the British government returned Hong Kong to China with the expectation that Hong Kong could proceed with their more democratic ways for another 50 years. Unfortunately, in recent years the Chinese government and Hong Kong Police have violently enforced multiple laws infringing on the basic human rights of its people and attempted to convert the Westernized city to be on par with the rest of the Communist-run country. Laws that restrict freedom of speech and threaten to throw any that oppose the ruling party in prison have only grown stronger in Hong Kong, as the political activists and democratic saviors have grown continually weaker from the immense force of the government.
Liu Yifei is the star of the new Mulan movie, meaning that her actions now potentially have large consequences for the movie which she acted in, and based on the hashtag flooding people’s Twitter feeds after her questionable post, it has. Yifei shared a tweet from a government-run newspaper supporting the Hong Kong police stating, “I also support the Hong Kong police. You can beat me up now,” and then furthered her political statement by adding, “What a shame for Hong Kong.” This tweet is highly controversial due to the fact that the Chinese government and Hong Kong police department are blatantly trying to strip the citizens of Hong Kong from the basic human rights that they have enjoyed for years.
Many people are outraged by Yifei’s support for the injustices occurring in China, as she stars in a children’s film with a theme of standing up against oppressors and “the normal” in society, exactly what the protesters in Hong Kong are attempting to do. Throughout history, boycotts have proven successful in accomplishing their goals, and in today’s day and age, a simple hashtag can go a long way in fighting for justice. By boycotting the Mulan movie, supporters of the protests in Hong Kong hope to relay the message that those who support oppression should not be supported, and those who aim to be or portray role models should practice what they preach.