Disney’s upcoming live action remake of the 1998 Mulan animated film continues to be surrounded in controversy after Chinese actress Liu Yifei, who is set to play the warrior princess, posted her support for the Hong Kong police on Chinese social-media site, Weibo.
“I support the Hong Kong police. You can all attack me now. What a shame for Hong Kong,” Yifei is reported to have written. (https://www.refinery29.com)
The controversy reflects the thoughts by some Chinese that the military police continue to use excessive force during peaceful demonstration marches and on protestors seeking government reform. Hong Kong is entering its sixteenth weekend of protest as police warn violence continues to escalate beyond control.
According to the U.S. Department of State’s website (https://www.state.gov/u-s-relations-with-china/), the “United States seeks a constructive, results-oriented relationship with China” and “seeks progress on areas of disagreement such as China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea and lack of respect for human rights and religious freedom.”
“The fact the actress is supporting such violence is very heartbreaking and hard to hear because instead of using her voice for much more important things, she decides to support a system that is unfair and not right,” sophomore Sal Pathan said. “The protestors should keep up their protest against whatever the police and so many other people are trying to suppress.”
Reports of excessive police action in cities across America and abroad plague news sources regularly. While emphasis at home has resulted in new laws that protect officers and add transparency of their actions to citizens, watch groups continue to criticize government entities. It is this current issue that fuels the controversy.
Geometry teacher Richard Li-Chiang Ho said, “The protesting and making this issue as big as possible are very understandable because what the Chinese government in Hong Kong is wrong by going back on they’re word but from a finical perspective view it is not smart to boycott the movie the protests are seeking against this injustice”.
With a March 2020 release date, a potential boycott world wide seems more likely to happen.
“What would a boycott accomplish? I plan on seeing Mulan when it comes out,” senior Maddie Vansickle said. “What the actress believes in and what the movie portrays has nothing to do with each other, really. She is just doing her job as an actress. People should not take offense to other people’s personal opinions.”
As for the movie, Mulan is a heartwarming tale that takes place during the Han dynasty when women were subjected to the household and had to do what they were told. Mulan, out of respect for her ill warrior father, impersonates a man to serve in her father’s place during the war. The main conflict exists with Mulan who feels she is unable to do what she feels is right because of the way women are viewed in Chinese society. It is this feeling that drives her to go against the Chinese system to break the cycle of tradition.
Breaking with hundreds of years of Chinese tradition to bring about constructive, inclusive change remains the focal point of Mulan‘s animation and live action film history.