Sep 12, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Members of Congress demand answers over Disney's filming of Mulan in Xinjiang

The World Premiere of Disney's 'Mulan' at the Dolby Theatre on March 9, 2020 in Hollywood, California. Photo: Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Disney
The World Premiere of Disney's 'Mulan' at the Dolby Theatre on March 9, 2020 in Hollywood, California. Photo: Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Disney

A bipartisan group of 19 members of Congress on Friday penned a letter to Disney CEO Bob Chapek questioning Disney's cooperation with "security and propaganda authorities" in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) during its filming of the remake of "Mulan."

Driving the news: Earlier this month, Disney revealed that some scenes from its live action remake of the 1998 animated classic were filmed in Xinjiang, where the Chinese government is engaged in a campaign of cultural and demographic genocide against indigenous minorities.

What they're saying: "The XUAR Publicity (or Propaganda) Department—which is an arm of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)—has denied, distorted, and otherwise covered up these crimes against humanity that also include forced labor and a campaign of mass sterilization, forced abortions, and birth suppression against Uyghurs," the letter reads.

  • The letter asks that Disney explain its cooperation with XUAR authorities, including what contractual agreements were made, Disney executives' awareness of the political complexities of the region, what local labor was used and what Disney policies exist on prohibiting relationships with human rights abusers.
  • "The closing credits of Mulan extend thanks to the 'Turpan Municipal Bureau of Public Security' and the 'Publicity Department of CPC Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Committee' as well as other local level XUAR propaganda elements," the letter adds, noting that "in October 2019, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security added the Turpan Municipal Bureau of Public Security to its Entity List for 'human rights violations and abuses in the implementation of China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, and high-technology surveillance against Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other members of Muslim minority groups in the XUAR.'"

Worth noting: Since the film's release on Disney+ on Sept. 4, many have used the hashtags #BoycottMulan and #BoycottDisney on Twitter in an effort to stifle the film's success.

  • Even before its release, there were calls to boycott the film after its lead actress, Crystal Liu Yifei, expressed support for the crackdown on Hong Kong protesters.
  • In February, Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn responded to the controversy surrounding the star's comments, telling The Hollywood Reporter that Disney tries remain "non-political, apolitical when it comes to all this stuff."

Disney did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

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