Disney warrior Mulan star: ‘I support the Hong Kong police, #BoycottMulan trending
Chinese-born American actress Crystal Liu Yifei, who plays “Mulan” in Disney’s upcoming live-action remake of the 1998 animated film, has showed her support for Hong Kong riot police on Chinese social media site Weibo.
This spurred calls to boycott the new movie and now this Disney warrior seems to be at the centre of a real-life battleground.
Liu has almost 66 million followers on the social networking platform, and shared an image from the People’s Daily – a Communist Party paper – with a caption that read, “I support the Hong Kong police; you can beat me up now” in Chinese.
She also wrote, “What a shame for Hong Kong” in English. It included a heart and a strong-arm emoji, as well as the hashtag #IAlsoSupportTheHongKongPolice.
The post has received enormous support on Weibo — Variety reported that it was liked 78,000 times and shared almost 69,000 times as of Thursday night, with many comments along the lines of, “Love you, I also support them.”
But social media sites outside of China, such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, have been another story. The hashtag #BoycottMulan was a leading trend at Twitter on Friday morning with 45,200 tweets and counting. Many potential ticket buyers claimed Liu’s support for police brutality in Hong Kong contradicts her “Mulan” character, who disguises herself as a man to fight for her country, which is threatened by Hun invaders during Han dynasty.
“I witnessed how the police brutally treated the protesters, especially women for the past 3 months. Liu Yifei, who plays the female character Mulan, supports the police who enjoys beating women. @Disney you just picked the worst actress for your new movie,” tweeted one user under the name Lee Yan Sum.
Neither Disney nor reps for Liu responded to MarketWatch requests for comment by presstime.
Demonstrations by pro-democracy protesters have erupted into violent confrontations with local authorities last week, which led to the Hong Kong International Airport shutting down.
The UN Human Rights office accused the Hong Kong police on Tuesday of “employing less-lethal weapons in ways that are prohibited by international norms and standards”. It also accused the police of “creating a considerable risk of death or serious injury” by using excessive force in firing tear gas or rubber bullets directly at people, as well as into crowded and enclosed areas.
If moviegoers do boycott the film, which hits theatres in March 2020, it could disrupt the Disney remake winning streak. The new “Lion King” recently swiped the title of highest-grossing animated movie worldwide of all time (not adjusting for inflation) with $1.334 billion as of August 11. The live-action “Aladdin” also topped $1 billion at the global box office earlier this year.