Disney is facing criticism for shooting its film “Mulan” in a city in the Xinjiang region in China that is known for serious human rights abuses.
In film credits for the ‘Mulan’ live-action film, Disney gave a “special thanks” to the Turpan Municipal Bureau of Public Safety that is linked to Uighur concentration camps, according to the BBC.
The security bureau in Turpan is reportedly responsible for managing the “re-education” camps and hiring police to staff the camps, according to the BBC.
Uighur Muslims living in the concentration camps are starved and abused. They are also forced to recite Communist Party propaganda, and to pledge allegiance to Chairman Xi Jinping, according to a 2018 investigation by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
A former detainee told the WSJ he was “bound to a chair by his ankles and hands” and was “fed thin soup and steamed bread.” He said detainees weren’t allowed to pray and were forced to eat pork, which is forbidden in Islam.
Sayragul Sauytbay, a survivor said she was forced to witness a gang rape and medical experiments on other prisoners when she was in the camps, reported Business Insider.
Sauytbay described a young woman was raped by several police officers after being forced to “confess” her sins in front of around 200 prisoners.
“While they were raping her they checked to see how we were reacting. People who turned their head or closed their eyes, and those who looked angry or shocked, were taken away and we never saw them again,” she said.
The U.S. State Department has estimated that Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has imprisoned potentially millions of Uighurs and other Muslims. The plight of ethnic Uighurs in the region has gained international attention, with reports of organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners and other prisoners of conscience coming to light at a meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Council in 2019.
“In the new #Mulan, @Disney thanks the public security bureau in Turpan, which has been involved in the internment camps in East Turkistan. Last year, the actor [Liu Yifei] publicly supported the #HongKongPolice in their violent crackdowns on pro-democracy protesters,” the World Uighur Congress tweeted.
— WorldUyghurCongress (@UyghurCongress) September 7, 2020
The movie “Mulan” is facing boycott calls from pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong, now joined by activists in Thailand and Taiwan, after star Liu Yifei expressed support for the CCP’s crackdown on demonstrators.
Disney operates a theme park in Shanghai and generates billions of dollars in revenue in the Chinese market. Disney CEO Robert Iger has refused to comment on the pro-democracy protests and to speak out against the CCP because doing so might imperil his business interests.
“To take a position that could harm our company in some form would be a big mistake,” Iger told the Wall Street Journal’s Tech Live conference, explaining why he wouldn’t comment on the issue.