Mulan and the #milkteaalliance: campaign to boycott Disney remake reignites

Ms Liu has been accused of endorsing police brutality in Hong Kong. Credit: Walt Disney Studios

Widespread calls to boycott a live-action Mulan remake have been reignited as the film celebrated its release on Friday.

Online criticism of the Disney film, marked by the hashtag #BoycottMulan, erupted last year when star Liu Yifei reportedly shared a social media post in support of Hong Kong's police force.

On Chinese social media platform Weibo, Ms Liu appeared to share a post from People's Daily, a state-run Beijing newspaper. It read: "I also support Hong Kong police. You can beat me up now. What a shame for Hong Kong."

Anti-Beijing, pro-democracy protests have been taking place for over a year in Hong Kong, despite a crackdown from authorities and a new law widely seen as an attempt to curb dissent.

#BoycottMulan resurfaced ahead of the film's widely-anticipated Friday debut on the Disney+ streaming platform.

In a Twitter thread, prominent pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong, urged human rights advocates to boycott Mulan, accusing Ms Liu of "openly and proudly" endorsing police brutality in Hong Kong.

He added that Ms Liu was "an icon of authoritarianism willfully betraying the values Hollywood purports to champion".

The current campaign against Mulan has been bolstered by pro-democracy activists from Thailand and Taiwan.

Demonstrators from three countries have become increasingly united, often supporting each other's protests.

The hashtag #milkteaalliance (a reference to the countries' shared love of sweet tea) has been trending on Twitter as the cross-country alliance rails against Mulan.

Mulan was one of the many films shifted to home release because of the pandemic. The $200 million (£150.6 million) live-action remake of the 1998 animated movie was originally slated to hit theatres in March.

Ms Liu is not the only Mulan star under fire, castmate Donnie Yen has been criticised for reportedly expressing pro-China sentiment.

In July last year, Mr Yen shared a congratulatory post on his Facebook page to mark Hong Kong’s Establishment Day.

“Today is the celebration day for Hong Kong returned to motherland China 23 years,” he wrote.

“Recalling such memorable night in 2017 where I had the privilege to performed with piano Maestro Lang Lang for Chairman Xi [Jinping] and wife along with several hundred guests who came to watch the show and celebrated the night!”

Hong Kong's protests started in June 2019 after plans to allow extradition to mainland China surfaced.

Demonstrators feared this could undermine judicial independence and endanger dissidents.