Live-action “Mulan:” to watch or not to watch?

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Photo courtesy of Walt Disney Studios

Let me answer the headline for you: don’t watch it. Not only does the new live-action “Mulan” lack the charm which made the original so beloved, but it engages with serious human rights violations which deserve a boycott.

As Disney’s newest live-action film, “Mulan” has been available since September 4, currently only generating around 20% in box office revenue compared to the film’s budget. Many people simply aren’t watching it, especially considering the $30 extra fee to stream it on DisneyPlus. 

However, the high price tag isn’t the only reason not to stream “Mulan.”  Not only does it not compare to the original, but more importantly, the producers displayed a complete lack of moral regard while filming. 

Although I watched “Mulan” to gain perspective for this article, I would not do so again, especially with the human rights violations that have come to light through its production.

In the credits, Disney openly thanks the publicity department of Chinese Communist Party Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Committee, a government sect directly involved in the Uyghur “re-education camps.” In this case, “re-education camps” are simply different words for “concentration camps.” 

The sole purpose of these camps is to suppress the Uyghur minority in China. With allegations of torture, labor, forced sterilization, brainwashing and more, it should be clear that this is horrifically unethical and constitutes as an ethnic cleansing against this minority. 

With an estimated imprisonment rate of near two million people, there is no question that this clear violation of human rights must not be supported. In April of 2017, laws were implemented that prevented practices such as wearing a veil or having a long beard, and disallowed “instigative” names such as “Muhammad.” It is obvious that these practices are anti-Muslim, with the purpose of suppressing the Uyghur population’s main religion. 

As of now, almost 200 concentration camps and prisons exist. The coordinates of 10 have been released and are revealed to exist within the Turpan Region, which was the filming site for multiple scenes in “Mulan.” 

Even more disturbing is the fact that Disney partnered with the local propaganda divisions, which labels the concentration camps as “vocational centers” with the goal of anti-terrorism and de-radicalization.

Additionally, Liu Yifei, the lead actress in the film, has openly supported the Hong Kong police in their efforts to stop pro-democracy and human rights protests. These police are responsible for stifling protests with brutal and inhumane force by arresting, imprisoning and torturing protesters, according to Amnesty International. 

To me, Disney’s involvement and support speaks volumes. These camps are a blatant act of Islamophobia, profiling Muslims as terrorists and attempting to control an entire ethnic group. The camps are no secret either. Supported by local Chinese governments and 54 members of the United Nations, they continue to operate in plain sight with little to no intervention. 

Yifei’s words of support for the Hong Kong police, as well as the public response to Disney’s credit scenes, have led to the “BoycottMulan” hashtag. 

The premise is simple: don’t watch it. Refuse to support Disney in their endorsement of the government in charge of the Uyghur concentration camps, and make it clear to the producers that there will be no more support for their platform if this continues. 

As if human rights violations weren’t enough, the live-action version of “Mulan” is lackluster compared to the original animated movie. Almost every memorable scene we remember from our childhood was removed, and one of my favorite songs, “I’ll Make A Man Out Of You,” is sadly missing. 

More importantly, the “Mulan” boycott signifies the refusal to support a clear and obvious act of racism and violation of basic human rights. 

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