Activists from a number of Asian countries are calling for the boycott of the film “Mulan,” released by Disney on September 4, on the grounds that production’s lead actor, Liu Yi Fei, has publicly expressed support for the police crackdown on protesters in Hong Kong.
I spent the last ten years living in China’s Xinjiang province, one of the country’s so-called “autonomous regions.” In my experience, labeling these regions as such had little to do with autonomy and everything to do with the local governments being able to pull in more money from tourism. This exploitive tourism featured costumed dancers in tightly controlled environments with thematic scenery and had little to do with anything that might be culturally controversial; it was all cultural appropriation on a horrifying scale.
With up to 1 in 10 adult Uyghurs in China’s westernmost province of Xinjiang in re-education camps, life in the region’s internment system drudges on—arduously. Your mother is sent hundreds of miles away for burying your dead father in the traditional Muslim custom instead of cremating him. Your brother is sent thousands of miles away to a residential school for stuttering when speaking Mandarin. Your brother-in-law has saved up several months’ salary to pay smugglers to take him and your sister out of the country—if caught he may never see your family again.