Pro-democracy protesters in Thailand have joined the growing list of groups calling for a boycott of Disney’s new live action remake of Mulan, which will be released today.
The film garnered controversy last year when Liu Yifei, who voices the film's titular protagonist, vocalised her support for the actions of Hong Kong police during pro-democracy protests.
In August 2019, Liu reportedly posted a message on the Chinese social networking site Weibo saying: “I also support Hong Kong police. You can beat me up now.”
Another of the film’s stars Donnie Yen also courted controversy in July this year when he marked “the celebration day for Hong Kong [returning] to motherland China [after] 23 years".
Protesters in Taiwan and Thailand have joined those in Hong Kong calling for a boycott, with youth activists uniting around the hashtag #milkteaalliance, a reference to a love of sweet tea shared by citizens of all three nations
Posts tagging the hashtag emerged in April in support of a Thai celebrity who was attacked online by Chinese nationalists after a perceived slight against China.
Mulan tells the story of a fearless young heroine in China who fights to protect her nation against invaders. It was originally scheduled for theatrical release in March, but the pandemic has forced Disney to put the film directly on their streaming platform Disney+.
While Liu retains support in her native China, the movie has been used by Hong Kong activists as a protest symbol.
When Agnes Chow was arrested in Hong Kong in August, social media users began to refer to her as “the real Mulan” and “our Mulan".
Thailand has seen a wave of youth protests calling for democracy and reform of the monarchy in recent weeks. Authorities have begun a crackdown, with arrest warrants issued for the students who led anti-monarchy protests.
Ahead of Mulan’s release in Thailand, Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal, a Thai student activist, tweeted: “I invite everyone to #boycottMulan #banMulan to make Disney and the Chinese government know that state violence against the people is unacceptable.”