Disney’s live-action remake of Mulan, already the target of a boycott, has come under fire for filming in Xinjiang, the site of alleged widespread human rights abuses against Uighurs and other Muslim minorities.
The film, directed by Niki Caro, is an adaptation of Disney’s 1998 animation about Hua Mulan, a young woman who disguises herself as a man to fight in the imperial army in her father’s stead.
The remake attracted criticism when the actor Liu Yifei, who plays Mulan, said she supported Hong Kong police in their often violent crackdowns on pro-democracy protesters.
After the film’s release last Friday, observers noted another controversial element: in the final credits 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 have been documented.
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. Disney has been approached for comment.
China has faced international scrutiny over its treatment of Muslim minorities in Xinjiang, where it is estimated at least 1 million residents have been detained in extrajudicial internment camps. Uighur women have reported forced sterilisations and birth control as part of a government campaign to suppress birthrates, in what experts have described as “demographic genocide”.
According to media reports before its release, Mulan was shot in about 20 locations in China, including the Mingsha Shan desert, part of which is in Xinjiang, and the Tuyuk Valley, an oasis village east of Turpan.
Activists calling for a boycott of the film are now highlighting its links to Xinjiang, while researchers noted that the public security bureau in Turpan oversees at least 14 internment camps in the area.