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Should people boycott Disney’s live-action Mulan? Show more Show less
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Disney's 2020 live-action adaptation of their 1998 animated film Mulan sparked excitement and controversy. The 1998 animated film is a beloved Disney classic. While Disney intended the 2020 live-action remake to appeal to both American and Chinese audiences, the film incited a call for boycotts (#BoycottMulan) from human rights activists.

Yes, people should #BoycottMulan Show more Show less

Despite the film's large budget, all-Asian cast, and high expectations, people should not watch Disney's 2020 remake. The film potentially supports human rights violations against protesters in Hong Kong and Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang, China. The film also lacks Asian representation behind the camera.
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Disney shot parts of live action Mulan in Xinjiang, China

At a time when China's Uyghur minority is being persecuted, the film does little to showcase its plight. Instead it arguably comes down on the side of the Chinese government.
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Context

China has been embroiled in controversy following the exposure of seemingly unlawful detainment of Uyghur Muslims and nothing has been done despite months of public outcry. Despite this, Disney shot parts of the film in areas where the mistreatment is said to be taking place and thanked government officials in the movie credits.[1]

The Argument

U.S. politicians are among many who have expressed dismay at Disney’s decision to film in Xinjiang. Josh Hawley of Missouri sent a letter to Disney CEO Bob Chapek for “whitewashing the ongoing genocide.” The corporation's decision to shoot portions of the live-action epic in the northwestern region of China—where an estimated 1 million members of the mostly Muslim Uyghur ethnic minority have been placed against their will in 're-education' camps as part of an effort to forcibly assimilate them with China’s majority Han population—has been hugely unpopular with Disney's top executives acknowledging that it has overshadowed much of the movie's release.[2] Some of those detained in the camps have been subjected to forced sterilisations and abortions, recent reports show, with former detainees describing torture and inhumane treatment. Even the possibility of such acts having occurred should have deterred the company from not only shooting there but also from thanking government officials.

Counter arguments

The decision may have not been ideal however there are two broad reasons why boycotting is not an appropriate response. Firstly, Disney executives have acknowledged this as a lapse in judgment. Secondly, the thanking of government officials is a Chinese imposed regulation that Disney needed to fulfill to be allowed to film in the area.

Proponents

Framing

The decision to shoot in a place where an alleged genocide is happening and then also thank the government officials is clear on how tone-deaf the production of the film was.

Premises

Media should be socially-conscious

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://www.theguardian.com/film/2020/sep/07/disney-remake-of-mulan-criticised-for-filming-in-xinjiang
  2. https://variety.com/2020/film/news/disney-cfo-filming-mulan-in-xinjiang-problematic-1234766342/
This page was last edited on Tuesday, 29 Sep 2020 at 03:40 UTC

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