A Disney executive acknowledged the controversy surrounding the live-action “Mulan,” which was partly filmed in a region of China with internment camps for the ethnic minority Uyghur population, after critics also pointed out that Disney thanked various arms of the local communist government in its film credits.
Disney CFO Christine McCarthy made the remarks during a virtual conference in which she was asked if she believed the film’s success would be hindered in Chinese markets — where Disney reportedly wanted the film to thrive — because all of the different backlash toward the movie, reports Deadline.
“I’m not a box-office prognosticator, but it has generated a lot of publicity,” McCarthy told the virtual conference. “Let me just put something into context. The real facts are that Mulan was primarily shot — almost in entirety — in New Zealand. In an effort to accurately depict some of the unique landscape and geography of the country of China for this period drama, we filmed scenery in 20 different locations in China. It’s common knowledge that, in order to film in China, you have to be granted permission. That permission comes from the central government.”
As The Daily Wire previously reported, Disney thanked several government entities in the film’s credits, including the Turpan Municipal Bureau of Public Security, which reportedly helps maintain so-called “re-education” camps for minorities and has been sanctioned by the United States Department of Commerce for its role in doing so, according to The Washington Post.
During the virtual conference, the Disney executive also said that the thank-you to the arms of the Chinese communist government is a typical practice for the movie industry, in which studios will “acknowledge in a film’s credits the national and local governments that allowed you to film there,” reports Deadline.
“So, in our credits, it recognized both China and locations in New Zealand. I would just leave it at that, but it has generated a lot of issues for us,” she continued.
According to The New York Times, Disney “worked overtime” to make the “Mulan” live-action movie work for a Chinese audience, which included sharing a movie script with the Chinese Communist Party in advance, using household names in the film to appeal to the Chinese market, and showing it to at least one Chinese test audience to find out what didn’t work so well (such as a kissing scene that was ultimately deleted). The Times reports that sharing scripts with Chinese officials is a “not-uncommon practice in Hollywood.”
Meanwhile, regarding Xinjiang, China, a steady stream of media reports and first-hand accounts have been detailing the lengths to which the Chinese communist government has been going in order to forcibly assimilate the ethnic Uyghur population. Some of these measures include forced sterilization, mandatory re-education in so-called “re-education camps,” widespread video surveillance, and promoting “repentance and confession.”
According to The Associated Press, local government officials have made it practice to force families to pay fines for having too many children — and split them up and ship off family members to internment camps if they cannot comply. From 2017 to 2018, the birth rate in the Xinjiang region fell 24% while the nationwide birth-rate only declined 4%.
During an interview with the BBC earlier this year, Chinese Ambassador to the U.K., Liu Xiaoming, was confronted with drone footage that appeared to show blindfolded and shaven prisoners kneeling in front of a train station in Xinjiang.
Liu deflected, saying that Xinjiang is regarded as a “beautiful place.” After being pressed, he refused to explain what was happening in the video.