The latest star to speak out in support of the Hong Kong police force during continued mass anti-government protests that have swept through the city in recent weeks: newly minted live-action “Mulan” star Liu Yifei (also known as Crystal Liu). Variety reports that the Chinese-born actress recently shared “a Chinese propaganda post in support of the police crackdown on mass anti-government protests in Hong Kong,” a choice that has drawn ire from many, inspiring a call to #BoycottMulan.
Variety reports that on the “Twitter-like Weibo social media platform, where Liu has nearly 66 million followers,” the Disney star shared an “image from the Communist Party mouthpiece, the People’s Daily, that reads ‘I support the Hong Kong police; you can beat me up now’ in Chinese and ‘What a shame for Hong Kong’ below in English. She also reiterated campaign’s hashtag: ‘I also support the Hong Kong Police’ with a heart and strong-arm emoji.”
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The post was inspired by “the words of an undercover mainland reporter for a Chinese nationalist tabloid — the Global Times, sometimes referred to as China’s Fox News equivalent — who has been hailed as a national hero after he was roughed up by a group protestors at an otherwise largely peaceful mass sit-in at Hong Kong’s international airport.” The reporter yelled out “I support the Hong Kong police; you can beat me up now” during a scuffle with protestors and it has becoming something of a rallying cry for the pro-police side.
Liu’s post has been liked over 75,000 times since its posting on Wednesday, and has been shared over 65,000 times. While many in the comments on the initial post offered support to Liu and appeared to share her sentiments, other social media platforms — including those blocked in China, like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter — have been flooded with calls to #BoycottMulan. Disney is set to release the Niki Caro-directed remake of the animated classic next March.
While the Hong Kong protests — inspired by a controversial proposed extradition bill that would allow the government of Hong Kong to detain and extradite people wanted in other territories in China, including those that do not have extradition agreements with Hong Kong — began in March, they have recently exploded.
Ongoing protests have now seen millions marching through the streets, culminating in strikes, sit-ins, and a highly publicized three-day protest that throttled Hong Kong’s airport earlier this month. Despite the widespread nature of the demonstrations, the majority of protestors have been peaceful. Protestors are now demanding greater democracy, as well as an investigation into alleged police brutality against demonstrators.
Liu is not the only star to share her support of the police in recent days. Earlier this week, both Jackie Chan and Tony Leung Ka-fai voiced their support for the Beijing police force in interviews.
While not well-known in America, Liu is popular in her native China, where she has been modeling since the age of 8, in addition to training in singing, dancing, and playing the piano. While Liu moved to the United States at the age of 10, she returned to China in 2002 to pursue her acting and modeling career. Trained at the Performance Institute of Beijing Film Academy, Liu has appeared on both television and in film. She’s best known to domestic audiences for her roles in films like “Ip Man 3” and “The Forbidden Kingdom.”
IndieWire has reached out to Disney and Liu’s representatives for comment.