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Boycotting 'Mulan': Disney Accused of Cooperating with China's Communist Party

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The Walt Disney Company's $200 million live-action remake of the animated Mulan is drawing criticism after it was revealed parts of the movie were filmed in China's Xinjiang Province, the same region where the communist government has placed Uyghur Muslims in internment camps. 

As CBN News has reported, since the spring of 2017, China has been transferring Uyghurs living in China's Xinjiang Province into so-called re-education camps that international observers call modern-day concentration camps.

Uyghurs are an ethnic minority in China. Most practice Islam. In recent years, China's communist regime has turned up the heat in its war against people of faith - specifically targeting Christians and Muslims.

Besides filming in the province, Disney even thanked Chinese government agencies who are involved in the alleged abuses, according to The Hollywood Reporter (HR). 

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After Mulan's release on the company's Disney+ streaming platform last Friday, some viewers noticed a "special thanks" segment in the movie's end credits, thanking eight government agencies in the region, including Turpan's public security bureau where the communist government is holding Uyghurs in more than a dozen camps. 

The movie's end credits also thanks the publicity department of CPC Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomy Region Committee -- the Chinese Communist Party committee responsible for state propaganda. 

US Commission for International Religious Freedom Commissioner Nury Turkel told CBN News during an interview in June that he believes more than three million Uyghurs and others are being held against their will.

The HR also reports Mulan is the target of a pro-democracy boycott by activists with the #BoycottMulan movement for the last couple of months over lead actress Liu Yifei's comments supporting the Hong Kong police force. There was a wave of social media activity over the weekend in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Thailand urging moviegoers to skip the film. 

Helen Raleigh, a naturalized US citizen from China, wrote an op-ed for The Federalist which was published online Wednesday, arguing that her fellow Americans should join her in boycotting the new Mulan film. 

The film, she says, diverts from the original animated version's "universal value of self-determination to fidelity to family" and instead promotes "unwavering loyalty to the state."

Raleigh, a Policy Fellow at the Centennial Institute, writes the original animated version of the movie was a worldwide hit, but not in China.

"Beijing initially barred Disney from releasing the animated film within its borders out of spite for another Disney venture, 'Kundun,' the 1997 film that told the life of the 14th Dalai Lama. Even though the Dalai Lama gave up on demanding Tibet's independence from China a long time ago, Beijing labeled him a 'traitor' and a 'separatist'," she noted.

"Beijing was also worried about the universal message of self-determination in the animated version of 'Mulan,' in fear that people who believe in personal freedom would ultimately demand democracy — the last thing the Chinese Communist Party would allow to take place in China," Raleigh added. 

Disney, according to the Wall Street Journal, "shared the script with Chinese authorities while consulting with local advisers," she pointed out.

"Not surprisingly, the live-action 'Mulan' emphasizes loyalty above all, something the CCP, especially its leader, General Secretary Xi Jinping, has demanded from all Chinese people," Raleigh writes. "Since the state and the CCP are synonymous in Communist China, loyalty to the state is no different from being loyal to the CCP. 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 notes in her article she has no regrets boycotting Disney's live-action version of Mulan, calling it "the latest example of Communist China's growing power over everything from geopolitics to arts and entertainment."

CBN News has reached out to the Walt Disney Company for comment.  At the time this story was published, we had not heard back from the company. 

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About The Author

Steve Warren is a senior multimedia producer for CBN News. Warren has worked in the news departments of television stations and cable networks across the country. In addition, he also worked as a producer-director in television production and on-air promotion. A Civil War historian, he authored the book The Second Battle of Cabin Creek: Brilliant Victory. It was the companion book to the television documentary titled Last Raid at Cabin Creek currently streaming on Amazon Prime. He holds an M.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and a B.A. in Communication from the University of