Mulan lead actress actress Crystal Liu Yifei provoked an angry reaction online, and calls to boycott Disney’s live-action remake after she showed support for the Hong Kong police on social media this week amid the city’s anti-government protests.
The hashtag #BoycottMulan was trending on Twitter on Friday, featuring in more than 24,000 posts.
On Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter, where she has 65.6 million followers, Liu shared a post by People’s Daily, the official newspaper of China’s Communist Party, with the quote “I support Hong Kong police. You can beat me now,” as well as the English words “What a shame for Hong Kong”.
The quote was a reference to a statement made by Fu Guohao, a reporter for People’s Daily affiliate the Global Times, who was tied up and held captive by anti-government protesters at Hong Kong airport on Tuesday evening because they suspected he was a Chinese undercover agent. Liu included the hashtag, in Chinese, #IalsosupportHongKongPolice.
The Hong Kong police have been widely accused of using excessive force against protesters, and even journalists covering the protests. The United Nations Human Rights Commissioner, Michelle Bachelet, this week voiced her concern about police use of force and echoed calls for an independent inquiry into police handling of the protests.
Some users took to Twitter to express their frustration about Liu’s Weibo post:
Critics of Liu’s Weibo post noted the irony of an American citizen banking her star turn in an American film while siding with authorities suppressing calls for democracy – a core value in the West, as many Twitter users were quick to point out.