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Pro-democracy 'Mulan' boycott reemerges amid backlash after lead actress voiced support for Hong Kong police

Disney's live-action remake of 'Mulan' was released to objection online with pro-democracy activists calling for a boycott.
Credit: Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP
Actress Yifei Liu poses for photographers upon arrival at the European Premiere of 'Mulan' at a central London cinema, Thursday, Mar. 12, 2020. (Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)

WASHINGTON D.C., DC — Pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong are again calling for a boycott of the film Mulan, and now activists in Taiwan and Thailand are joining in. 

As the live-action remake released Friday, fanfare was met with online support for a boycott amid backlash over lead actress Liu Yifei and her support for Hong Kong police. Pro-democracy activists say that Hong Kong police have used excessive force when trying to quell anti-government demonstrators. 

Activist Joshua Wong tweeted Friday, "This film is released today. But because Disney kowtows to Beijing, and because Liu Yifei openly and proudly endorses police brutality in Hong Kong, I urge everyone who believes in human rights to #BoycottMulan."

Last year, Liu, who was born in China and has U.S. citizenship, voiced support for police in Hong Kong during the height of anti-government protests there. The protests started after plans emerged that would permit extradition to mainland China. Those against the move worried that it was a major erosion of judicial independence and could endanger dissidents. 

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The bill that would have allowed for the extraditions was withdrawn in September, but anti-government protests continued, and protesters demanded full democracy. 

Thai student activist Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal tweeted, "I would like to invite everybody to #BoycottMulan, #BanMulan, so that Disney and the Chinese government realize that state violence against the people is something that cannot be accepted.” 

Audiences around the world, especially in China, are a key part of the movie's strategy to return to theaters. The story is a war epic about a young Chinese woman who steps in to serve the army in her aging and ailing father’s place.

Mulan was set to be released in theaters in March, but had to be delayed multiple times due to the pandemic. Now the new re-imagining of the successful Disney film has been released directly to Disney+.