Calls to boycott 'Mulan' are trending after the star of Disney's live-action remake backed the Hong Kong police in the city's chaotic protests

Sinéad Baker
Yifei Liu

Walt Disney Studios and Stephen Tilley/Disney Enterprises, Inc.


  • #BoycottMulan is trending after the star of Disney's upcoming live-action remake voiced support for police in Hong Kong.
  • Liu Yifei shared a post on Chinese social network Weibo which said: "I support Hong Kong's police. You can all beat me up now."
  • Hong Kong officers have been accused of brutality in their treatment of pro-democracy protesters, who have been on the streets of the city for more than two months.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

#BoycottMulan is trending on Twitter after the star of the upcoming Disney live-action expressed support for Hong Kong's police, who are accused of using excessive force on pro-democracy protesters in the city.

Liu Yifei, who plays Mulan, reposted a graphic on Chinese microblogging site Weibo which said: "I support Hong Kong's police. You can all beat me up now." It also said, in English, "what a shame for Hong Kong."

On top of the graphic, which was created by China's state-run People's Daily newspaper, Liu added: "I also support the Hong Kong Police," followed by emojis of a heart and a muscular arm.

Liu Yifei Weibo

Liu Yifei/Weibo

Liu is Chinese-American, and has lived both in the US and mainland China.

China's state media has taken a firm stance against the protesters and promoted Chinese nationalism. It avoided publishing images of injured protesters or reporting their demands. 

hong kong protest

Ivan Abreu/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The hashtag #BoycottMulan started to trend across Twitter after her post.

Read more: Hong Kong will become another Tiananmen Square if China's army comes, a protest leader warns

Sean Norton wrote: "Disney's Mulan actress, Liu Yifei, supports police brutality and oppression in Hong Kong. Liu is a naturalized American citizen. it must be nice. meanwhile she pisses on people fighting for democracy. retweet please. HK doesn't get enough support. #BoycottMulan @Disney."

The tweet had 8,000 retweets and around 9,000 likes as of Friday morning.

Tweet Embed:
//twitter.com/mims/statuses/1161971657034125312?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw
Disney's Mulan actress, Liu Yifei, supports police brutality and oppression in Hong Kong.

Liu is a naturalized American citizen. it must be nice. meanwhile she pisses on people fighting for democracy.

retweet please. HK doesn't get enough support. #BoycottMulan@Disneypic.twitter.com/FpECIdutH2

 

Others also encouraged a boycott of the movie, which is set for release in March 2020.

Tweet Embed:
//twitter.com/mims/statuses/1162222592163373056?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw
Honestly disappointed to hear about Liu supporting police brutality. I was actually kinda looking forward to this remake but people like her playing Mulan ultimately ruin the story #BoycottMulanpic.twitter.com/F1sXD0tzWD Tweet Embed:
//twitter.com/mims/statuses/1162169267837689856?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw
#BoycottMulan how tone deaf do you have to be to support police brutality when you just filmed a character who is supposed to stand against oppression in its raw form? Pound sand. pic.twitter.com/Ug8pfh3JPN

 

Tweet Embed:
//twitter.com/mims/statuses/1162180269639471105?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw
She represents a type of Chinese who swore the loyalty to the US but on the other hands support the Chinese communist for suppression. Shame on her. #BoycottMulan@Disneyhttps://t.co/HOwOk7pcjX

 

Tweet Embed:
//twitter.com/mims/statuses/1162034031132758016?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw
She is living in a country with freedom of speech, yet she supports communism and brutality of police.. #BoycottMulan@Disneypic.twitter.com/Krr9ID1bGU

People also tagged Disney's Twitter account and replies to Disney's own tweets, criticizing Liu's stance.

Tweet Embed:
//twitter.com/mims/statuses/1162126516810948608?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw
Such a shame the lead actress decided to side with an oppressive autocratic regime, instead of the democracy she benefits from as a citizen of the US. Wanted to see it, but now...not unless the actress is replaced. #BoycottMulan Tweet Embed:
//twitter.com/mims/statuses/1161986103689326593?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw
#boycottmulan@Disney why does your company support a Chinese actress who openly supports a suppressive regime?

Some people from Hong Kong thanked users for the support, saying that they hoped the government would meet their demands.

Tweet Embed:
//twitter.com/mims/statuses/1162048261848305664?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw
As a concerned HK Citizen, thank you for speaking up!
Much appreciated 🙏🏼🇭🇰
We HK Citizens oppose separation of HK & China, but hope the gov't will respond positively to our 5 Demands, including democracy, as promised in the Basic Law, HK's de-facto constitution. #BoycottMulanpic.twitter.com/NmeriRoFiq

Most of the protesters have settled on the following five demands:

  • The complete withdrawal of the proposed bill that would allow Hong Kong residents to be extradited to mainland China.
  • An independent investigation into police behaviour during the protests.
  • The release of protesters that were arrested during the protests, with charges against them dropped.
  • For government to stop referring to the protests as "riots."
  • Reform to voting laws.

Protesters held up signs outlining these demands as they occupied Hong Kong's airport this week, and explained them to travellers who were passing through.

Read more: Trump's weak support of Hong Kong protesters gives China a 'green light' for a military crackdown

The protests, which started in June, began as a peaceful protest against a bill that would allow Hong Kong residents to be extradited to China.

The bill has been suspended, but the protests have continued as Hong Kong residents express fears about greater control from China and the erosion of their separate political system.

Hong Kong protests airports

AP Photo/Vincent Thian

In the airport, many protesters held signs and covered their eyes in reference  to a medic who was allegedly blinded in one eye after police shot into a crowd.

The United Nations on Tuesday called for an investigation. It said police use of tear gas was "creating a considerable risk of death or serious injury," and that there is "credible evidence of law enforcement officials employing less-lethal weapons in ways that are prohibited by international norms."

Liu has appeared in films like "The Forbidden Kingdom" with Jackie Chan and "Outcast" with Nicolas Cage. She was cast in "Mulan" after a year-long search.

The Hollywood Reporter reported that more than 1,000 actresses were considered for the role across five continents.

Alexandra Ma contributed reporting to this article.

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