In an interview with the Daily Caller, Helen Raleigh, a Chinese immigrant contributing to the current affairs magazine The Federalist, spoke about why Disney’s film, “Mulan” is being boycotted, as well as her thoughts on the “culture of suppression.”
“It turns out in order to appease to the Chinese authorities, Disney worked very closely with the Chinese authorities to develop a script,” Raleigh said. “They changed this universal appeal message of self-discovery, of a person’s self-determination, into something all about loyalty,” she added, referring to the main character.
According to Raleigh, the concept of loyalty has a coded connotation in China as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) demands absolute loyalty from its people.
“As we now know that Disney shot part of the movie in Xinjiang Province. Xinjiang is where the Chinese Communist Party imprisoned over millions of Uighur Muslims and other minorities,” she said.
Raleigh was one of the people who joined the initiative to boycott the film instead of paying the $30 admission fee to the premiere on the Disney Plus platform. She cited a Wall Street Journal article reporting that Disney “shared the script with Chinese authorities while consulting with local advisers.”
Although the 1998 animated film highlights the self-determination of the main character, Raleigh questions the “live action” version, as it “emphasizes loyalty above all, something that the [Chinese Communist Party], especially its leader, General Secretary Xi Jinping, has demanded of all Chinese people.”
“Since the state and the CCP are synonymous in Communist China, loyalty to the state is no different from being loyal to the CCP,” she wrote. “Absolute loyalty in China is defined as doing whatever the CCP demands of you and never questioning nor disobeying any orders from the CCP. Indeed, if it’s deemed necessary, one should be ready to sacrifice oneself for the CCP,” she added, according to The Christian Post.
The film launch also did not fare well, receiving a 4.9 out of 10 rating from more than 165,000 people at Douban, a leading film rating website.
It also received negative comments from critics in several countries, who described it as inauthentic to Chinese culture, historically inaccurate, and generally problematic.
“Poor artistic standards, a poor understanding of Chinese culture led to the failure of the film in China,” tweeted the Global Times, a media outlet that is funded by the CCP.
Although it was the most viewed film in China last week and on the Maoyan ticketing platform, it scored the highest of 7.5 out of 10, critics in the country were also disappointed with the inaccurate and stereotypical portrayals of Chinese history and the film’s main character.
In the days before the launch, the Hong Kong protesters urged the world to show its rejection of the production through the Hashtag #BoycottMulan, which was joined by supporters in Europe and the United States.
They also questioned the fact that some of the scenes were filmed in the Xinjiang region, where the CCP has been accused of imprisoning millions of Uighur Muslims.
Last August the main character Liu Yifei shared the following message through the Chinese platform Weibo, “Support for the Hong Kong police. Everyone can attack me now. What a shame for Hong Kong”, reported Hong Kong Free Press.