Disney accused of helping to 'normalize a crime against humanity' by filming Mulan in Xinjiang

Disney's Mulan just keeps growing more controversial.

The live-action remake from Disney, which debuted on streaming in the United States on Sept. 4, is being hit with new criticism for filming in China's Xinjiang region, where about a million Uighurs have been detained, Bloomberg reports. Additionally, critics are also slamming the film for in its closing credits thanking the Turpan Municipal Bureau of Public Security, which The Washington Post reports the United States Commerce Department sanctioned last year for its role in operating the detention camps, and the Post adds that "several Xinjiang propaganda departments that have worked to deny the detention program's existence are also credited."

In an opinion piece for The Washington Post, Isaac Stone Fish blasted Disney and wrote that the company, "in other words, worked with regions where genocide is occurring, and thanked government departments that are helping to carry it out." He goes on to ask, "Why did Disney need to work in Xinjiang? It didn't. There are plenty of other regions in China, and countries around the world, that offer the starkly beautiful mountain scenery present in the film. But in doing so, Disney helps normalize a crime against humanity."

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This criticism comes after Mulan was already facing calls for a boycott over comments the film's star, Liu Yifei, made in support of Hong Kong police during pro-democracy protests. Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong, who previously called for a boycott of the film, tweeted over the weekend that those who watch it are "potentially complicit in the mass incarceration of Muslim Uyghurs."

After originally being slated for a theatrical debut, Mulan premiered in the U.S. on Disney+ for a $30 fee, and it's set to be released theatrically in China on Sept. 11. Disney has not disclosed information about how the film performed in the U.S. over the holiday weekend, but Disney+ app downloads reportedly jumped almost 70 percent after its release.

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Brendan Morrow

Brendan is a staff writer at The Week. A graduate of Hofstra University with a degree in journalism, he also writes about horror films for Bloody Disgusting and has previously contributed to The Cheat Sheet, Heavy, WhatCulture, and more. He lives in New York City surrounded by Star Wars posters.