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Boycotting Mulan ideologically driven by China haters

By Li Qingqing Source:Global Times Published: 2019/8/21 21:33:40

The Disney film Mulan was recently at the center of the storm on Twitter - only because the film's leading actress Liu Yifei expressed her support for the Hong Kong police on her Weibo account. After Liu revealed her stance, many radical netizens who support Hong Kong illegal protests created a trending hashtag called #BoycottMulan, trying to persuade more people to boycott the film.

But is there anything wrong for Liu to make clear her position on an issue? Liu, as an individual, was only expressing her feelings toward the condition in Hong Kong. Nobody had forced her to say anything. As the hashtag #Mulan was once topped Twitter's worldwide trend, these naysayers only want to use the popularity of the film to smear the Hong Kong police.

Attitudes toward Mulan should not be a standard to judge whether people are against China or not. But, unfortunately, some ill-intentioned people have insisted on politicizing the film. After the official Mulan trailer was released in July, The Guardian criticized the theme in Mulan, saying that the film has been transformed into a "patriotic saga" to cater to Chinese ideology. 

After Liu voiced her support for the Hong Kong police, an account named "charlotte chan" said on Twitter that "she cannot represent Mulan" because she supports the Hong Kong police's "brutal violence." First, Mulan is a Chinese heroine in a traditional Chinese ballad, and these people have no right to judge. Second, Mulan represents the traditional Chinese spirit of loving and protecting the homeland and fighting external aggression. Although Liu is Chinese-American, there is nothing wrong or shameful for her to support her homeland. In fact, Liu's act represents the spirit of Mulan.

Many anti-China netizens have even forced Disney to choose sides as well. They also started a petition to remove Liu from Disney's Mulan. But is this realistic? No matter what Disney's political stance is, it is very unlikely for Disney to give up the huge Chinese market. Rather than "bowing to China," the company simply cannot afford the consequence of disrespecting Chinese people's feelings. Indeed, Liu will lose an opportunity to play the role of a well-known figure if she is removed from Mulan. Disney, however, will lose a potential 1.4 billion Chinese audience.

These paranoid netizens are hyping a Cold War mentality, antagonism and division online. They are launching cyber violence against people who supports China. And this has been a long-lasting problem: Many people insist on using their stereotypes to distort China. They want to deprive China supporters of their right to freedom of speech in the international community. Is this the so-called democracy and freedom they espouse?

The criticism is not simply targeted at a film. It is a malicious personal attack bordering on racism. This is cyber violence which seriously violates the basic principles of Twitter and Facebook. The two platforms should have suspended these ideological paranoids' accounts.



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