Since the release of the live action version of Mulan, Disney is increasingly under fire for praising the propaganda arm of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which is responsible for the genocide currently going on in the Xinjiang region.
By any measure, the Walt Disney Company is the most powerful name in the entertainment industry. From Marvel to Star Wars and nearly every other notable franchise in between, Disney has a considerable amount of influence in Hollywood, so it’s disappointing to see the company ignore the CCP’s human rights abuses across the country in order to capitalize on ticket sales.
Currently, China remains the largest movie market in the world, and Hollywood is paying attention. In order to appease Chinese distributors and the CCP, filmmakers have made creative decisions solely based on how they would be received in the country. An example of this is the recent report revealing that studios cast whiter skinned actors in order to appease Chinese aesthetic preferences.
But this concession comes at a price.
Though much of the movie was filmed in New Zealand, creators traveled the beautiful region of Xinjiang, which is the northwestern part of the country dominated by the ethnic minority known as the Uyghurs, for inspiration and some filming. As part of the ending credits of Mulan, filmmakers thanked several of the country’s communist propaganda departments in the northwestern Xinjiang region and the public security bureau of Turpan, which is a Uyghur majority city.
It’s raising questions and concerns that Disney ignored the genocide and concentration camps throughout the region in favor of placating China.
The whole situation also reeks of hypocrisy.
In 2019, Disney and other studios publicly announced that they would consider moving their business out of the state of Georgia if its heartbeat bill, which would ban abortion after the preborn baby’s heartbeat is detected around the 6th week of pregnancy, were enacted. Walt Disney’s former CEO Bob Iger said at the time that it would be “very difficult” for Disney to continue operations there.
So, the studio is unwilling to film in a state protecting preborn life, yet it is completely willing to praise a country where the government is actively committing genocide?
Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri agrees. In a letter to the current CEO of Disney Bob Chapek, Hawley asked, “How exactly does giving ‘special thanks’ to the officials responsible for imprisoning, torturing, and forcibly sterilizing millions of people because of their ethnicities and beliefs align with your supposed commitment to promoting human dignity and respecting human rights? How does glorifying the Chinese authorities perpetrating abuses in Xinjiang provide comfort, inspiration, and opportunity to Uyghur children—including those who were never born because the CCP forced their mothers to abort them? Disney’s actions here cross the line from complacency into complicity.”
It’s a question that Disney should answer.
Some of the atrocities that the Chinese government has committed against the Uyghurs and other minorities include people being forced into concentration camps, forced labor, forced sterilizations for women, forced abortions, mandatory reeducation, torture, putting children with families into orphanages for indoctrination and other crimes against humanity.
As the leading force in the entertainment industry, Disney has the opportunity to lead by example and not abandon its supposed principles in pursuit of the almighty dollar.
Photo from Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com
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