The live-action remake of the animated 1998 film was originally due to be released in March, but was delayed due to the coronavirus outbreak.
While the U.S is dealing with a resurgence of coronavirus cases the continue to restrict movie theatre reopening, the rest of the world is ready to welcome Hollywood back to the big screen.
However, the file has triggered renewed calls for its boycott from an alliance of pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong, Thailand and Taiwan, after she showed support for the Hong Kong police, who have been accused of violently suppressing demonstrators ever since protests broke out in 2019.
What did Liu Yifei say?
Liu, who is a naturalized American citizen but moved back to China as a teenager.
“I also support Hong Kong police. You can beat me up now,” she wrote in Mandarin. What a shame for Hong Kong,” she added in English.
The comment “you can beat me up now” was likely a reference to an incident in which protesters that month assaulted a Chinese state-media reporter, Fu Guohao,, who reportedly said the phrase during the altercation.
The quote was a reference to a statement made by Fu Guohao, a reporter for People’s Daily affiliate the Global Times, who was tied up and held captive by anti-suspected he was a Chinese undercover agent. Liu included the hashtag, in Chinese, #IalsosupportHongKongPolice.
Liu received positive responses on Weibo, which is highly censored. But outside of China, many were angered by the actress’s political comments and called for moviegoers to boycott her film.
“This film is released today. But because Disney kowtows to Beijing, and because Liu Yifei openly and proudly endorses police brutality in Hong Kong, I urge everyone who believes in human rights to #BoycottMulan,” prominent Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong tweeted on Friday.
In July, another “Mulan” actor, Donnie Yen, shared a Facebook post celebrating the 23rd anniversary of British colonial rule over Hong Kong and return of the territory to China.
In August when the prominent Hong Kong activist Agnes Chow was arrested under the national security law, social media users described her as “the real Mulan” and “our Mulan”.
Support for Chow and other Hong Kong protest leaders has expanded across Thailand and Taiwan over recent months, with young activists becoming increasingly united online.
Activists from Thailand, Taiwan and Hong Kong have consequently joined online under #MilkTeaAlliance – a reference to milk tea drinks beloved by all three places – to connect their struggles.
On social media, a Thai student activist leader, has been urging his followers to boycott the movie. “I invite everyone to #boycottMulan #banMulan to make Disney and the Chinese government know that state violence against the people is unacceptable,”
In recent weeks, thousands of students have revived Thailand’s youth-led pro-democracy movement and have demanded the resignation of Thai Army-backed Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha. Meanwhile, much like in Hong Kong, Taiwanese demonstrators have been protesting against Chinese encroachment for years.
Spokespersons for Disney didn’t immediately respond the requests for comment.