Protestors in Hong Kong are calling for a boycott of Disney’s live-action remake of Mulan after its China-born star Crystal Liu Yifei shared social media posts supporting the police crackdown on pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, CNN reports.
Using China’s Twitter-like service Weibo, Liu reportedly wrote a message that translates to, “I support the Hong Kong police. You can all stack me now. What a shame for Hong Kong.”
While Liu’s post was reportedly greeted with plenty of support on Weibo, a “boycott Mulan” hashtag was soon trending on Twitter in the United States and Hong Kong (Twitter is banned in China), with many users accusing Liu — who is also a naturalized U.S. citizen — of supporting police brutality. Disney, the company behind Mulan, has yet to respond to the controversy.
Liu’s post is reportedly based on a meme launched by The People’s Daily, the official paper of the Chinese government. According to The Washington Post, the meme originated after a reporter for The Global Times, a subsidiary of The People’s Daily, was surrounded and beat during a protest at the Hong Kong airport. Before the altercation, the reporter allegedly said, “I support the Hong Kong police, you can hit me now.”
Along with Liu, Jackie Chan — who was born in Hong Kong — has also faced fierce criticism from protestors for the perceived nationalist tone of his recent interview with the Chinese TV network CCTV. Per the South China Morning Post, Chan called the recent events in Hong Kong “sad and depressing,” adding, “I have visited many countries, and I can say, our country has been rapidly developing in recent years. I feel pride in being Chinese wherever I go, and the ‘Five-starred Red Flag’ is respected everywhere around the world.”
As The New York Times reports, the Hong Kong protests began in early June and are rooted in what many Hong Kong residents see as an erosion of the long-standing “one country, two systems” policy that’s allowed Hong Kong to effectively remain an autonomous territory since the British returned the former colony to China in 1997. The protests began in opposition to a bill being pushed by pro-China lawmakers in the Hong Kong legislature that would have allowed accused criminals to be sent to places that Hong Kong doesn’t have extradition treaties with, like mainland China.
The tenor of the protests changed, however, after police used pepper spray, batons and tear gas to disperse protestors. While the extradition bill was partly suspended, protestors are still demanding its full withdrawal, along with the resignation of the territory’s top leader, chief executive Carrie Lam, and an investigation into the police’s use of force. Additionally, as the protests have grown, many see them as ultimately being about larger issues like the deterioration of civil liberties and protecting democracy and Hong Kong’s autonomy.