Hong Kong protestors have called for a boycott of Disney's upcoming film Mulan after its lead actress expressed support for the city's police, who have been accused of using excessive force to crack down on demonstrations, CNN reports.
On Thursday, Liu Yifei, a Chinese actress who was chosen to star in Disney's live-action remake of the legendary Chinese tale, shared her thoughts on the Hong Kong protests on Weibo, a popular social media platform in China.
"I support the Hong Kong police," she wrote. "You can all attack me now. What a shame for Hong Kong."
The post drew immediate criticism from Twitter users, many of whom used the hashtag #BoycottMulan to call out Liu, a naturalised American citizen, for supporting police brutality and not recognising how fortunate she is to live in the US.
"Liu is a naturalised American citizen," one person wrote. "It must be nice. Meanwhile she pisses on people fighting for democracy."
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"She lives in America, her family is in America, she's a citizen who enjoys all the protection and privileges of any American," another wrote. "That includes freedom of speech. If she wanted to, she could be a powerful voice for justice but instead, she supports this brutality."
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Despite the backlash on Twitter, Liu has also reportedly received support on Weibo.
"Believe in the government, believe in the Chinese central (government), believe in the country," one user wrote in response to her post.
Liu moved to the United States with her mother when she was just 10 years old, according to the South China Morning Post. She lived in New York City for several years before returning to China to study at Beijing Film Academy, one of the largest film institutes in Asia. In 2017, she beat nearly 1,000 candidates for the role of Hua Mulan, who disguised herself as a man to take her father's place in the Chinese army.
In recent days, however, Liu has found herself in hot water for inserting herself into a sensitive conversation that has sparked mass protests throughout Hong Kong.
In June, Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam pulled a controversial bill that would have allowed authorities to extradite those who commit crimes in Hong Kong to mainland China, where the rule of law can be less forgiving. Still, demonstrators in Hong Kong have been left unsatisfied, calling for Lam's resignation and demanding greater freedoms.
What initially started out as peaceful protests has since become violent at times. On Tuesday, demonstrators clashed with police in riot gear at Hong Kong's main airport terminal. In a tweet, the Hong Kong Police Force said that one person was injured and that protesters were blocking ambulance access.
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Several Hong Kong celebrities, including Jackie Chan, Tony Leung and Daniel Chan have spoken out against the violence. Chan, in particular, has been criticised for the nationalist tone of his message.
"Hong Kong and China are my birthplaces and my home," he said in an interview with Chinese broadcaster CGTN TV. "China is my country, I love my country, I love my home."