It doesn’t get any more tone-deaf than this.
Disney has apparently worked hand-in-glove with those who run Uyghur concentration camps in Xinjiang province where numerous human rights violations have been cataloged. More than a million Uyghur Muslims have been incarcerated in terrible conditions. The Walt Disney film Mulan (2020) gave thanks in its credits to the very same “Turpan Public Security Bureau” that human rights groups say manages construction of the camps and hiring police to staff them.
Activists had called for boycotts of the film even before this revelation. Chinese-American actress Liu Yifei, who stars in the live-action remake of the beloved 1998 animated film, tweeted out her support for the Hong Kong police who were beating up pro-democracy protesters and enforcing China’s crackdown at the time.
Liu backed off that support, claiming she was ignorant of the politics.
But Disney even mentioning the jailers of one million people in a positive light makes you wonder if they would have thanked the German Ministry of Films if they had made a movie in Hitler’s Germany.
The United States Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security in October last year added the Turpan Municipality Public Security Bureau to a list of Chinese entities “acting contrary to the foreign policy interests of the United States”.
“Specifically, these entities have been implicated in human rights violations and abuses in the implementation of China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs, Kazakhs, and other members of Muslim minority groups in the XUAR [Xinjiang Uygher Autonomous Region],” the Department of Commerce said in a notification of the listing.
Human Rights Watch calls into question just what Disney was doing cooperating with authorities in Xinjiang.
Human Rights Watch’s China director Sophie Richardson told the ABC that Disney’s public thanks raised questions about whether and how the company engaged with authorities in Xinjiang.
Ms Richardson questioned whether Disney thought through how that relationship would be perceived “at a time when most of the global discussion about Xinjiang is about appalling mass detention of people outside of any legal process on the basis of their ethnic and religious identity, about forced labour, torture and unparalleled destruction of religious freedom”.
It’s really not that shocking when you consider corporate entities like Microsoft, Apple, and other Big Tech companies are cooperating with Chinese Communist censorship of the internet. Not very “woke” of them, is it?
Indeed, it appears that wherever it’s profitable to be a “good corporate citizen,” companies are eager to show they’re hip and sensitive. All the latest white privilege criticisms, critical race theory workshops, sensitivity training, sexual harassment workshops, and in-house yoga studios are supposed to set an example for the rest of us.
Just don’t mention the Chinese Communists.