The Hong Kong protest began in June, but in the last few weeks they’ve gone next level, with clashes between protesters and police growing more violent. Those who’ve spoken in favor of the police and against the pro-democracy protesters — including Jackie Chan, who’s often come out in support of mainland China — have been met with sharp rebukes over social media. On Thursday, actress Liu Yifei, star of Disney’s forthcoming live-action Mulan remake, weighed in on the controversy, and it did not go well.
“I support the Hong Kong police,” Liu posted on Weibo, a Twitter-like social media platform in China. “You can all attack me now. What a shame for Hong Kong.”
Many on social media took her at her word. As per CNN, the hashtag #BoycottMulan was instantly born. It started on Lihkg, a Reddit-esque online discussion forum in Hong Kong, but it soon spread elsewhere around the globe, including to Twitter, which is banned in China.
Chinese actress Liu Yifei, star of upcoming Disney blockbuster Mulan, shows support for Hong Kong police on Weibo, retweeting a People’s Daily post. Weibo shows that she is an iPhone user #hongkongprotests pic.twitter.com/gfXEb3zsom
— Vivienne Chow (@VivienneChow) August 15, 2019
Yes we're different but don't forget Human Rights is the fundamental life and freedoms that everyone shall enjoy it since we were born. All human beings are legally equal. Shame on you Liu Yifei and China #BoycottMulan pic.twitter.com/M9axIXaHlU
— jaimah🐶educatedʕథ౪థʔ (@janjaimah) August 16, 2019
The Hong Kong protest began as a push against a seemingly innocuous bill, which was eventually tabled. But it soon ballooned into a larger defense of Hong Kong autonomy, with residents fighting to keep mainland China from completely overtaking the former British colony. The police have been accused of using excessive force to combat protesters, which have numbered somewhere between 340,000 and two million.
As the #BoycottMulan movement has swelled, Liu — who was born in the Hubei province, moved to America when she was eight, and has largely worked in the Chinese film industry — has been accused of supporting police brutality.
Heartless HK police are aiming people head and using expired tear gas INSIDE railway station.
Even First-AID team has been attacked by those motherfkers
— sophia rei rika (@rikaxlikars) August 16, 2019
— Mariam Watt (@MariamWatt) August 16, 2019
— G A G O (@iellyssa) August 16, 2019
Many suggested Disney had to completely redo the movie without its now controversial star.
I thought people were just overreacting at first but yikes. She really just fucked over that movie and all involved. The movie's budget was already rumored to be pretty large too. A simple recast won't fix this issue. They'd have to likely reshoot the entire film. #BoycottMulan pic.twitter.com/66R0ixqn8u
— ThunderGodKiyro770 (@TKiyro770) August 16, 2019
Others felt bad for Disney employees who woke up to #BoycottMulan still raging.
disney employees waking up to see #BoycottMulan trending
but I feel bad for the hundreds of other people who worked on movies that end up getting fucked by one person's actions pic.twitter.com/Bb7rexiD9d
— August Owens (@almost0jake) August 16, 2019
*#BoycottMulan starts trending*
— Black Nerds(NOW ALSO ON APPLE & SPOTIFY)✊🏽✊🏾 (@WordsFromBlerds) August 16, 2019
And many made jokes.
— Bobby // APPLY FOR DISABLED STUDENT'S ALLOWANCE! (@Bobby19_) August 16, 2019
— ry-lee (@rileyyyspots) August 16, 2019
— 👑Prime Polo👑 (@Polo_Szn) August 16, 2019
— Akaru (@Akaru90) August 16, 2019
Along with Liu, Mulan — one of many forthcoming Disney redos of their animated classics, this one of a fave from 1998 about a young woman who surreptitiously joins the Chinese army disguised as a man — also stars Donnie Yen, Jet Li, Gong Li, and Jason Scott Lee. It’s due in theaters on March 27, 2020, but who knows if that date is still set in stone.