For the coming power of the 21st Century, the Chinese certainly seem like overly sensitive little souls. Barely a day goes by without some imagined slight against them and their delicate sensibilities.
Limbering up for a brutal crackdown on protestors seeking freedom in Hong Kong, stealing global IP, forcing companies to spy for the state, introducing an Orwellian social credit system and all the while being engaged in an illegal military land-grab across the South China Sea. It’s a wonder they have time for any entertainment.
Yet they do. And given the size of the country, and therefore potential box office, Hollywood can barely get off its knees as far as China is concerned. It twists itself in knots to appease this vicious totalitarian dictatorship that denies its people freedom.
Latest to find itself reaping the whirlwind is Disney, with its live-action remake of Mulan. So what has happened to get the fragile little flowers in China all overexcited?
Liu Yifei, the Chinese-American actress who plays the title role in Disney’s live-action remake of their 1988 animated hit, posted something on social media. Well, we might have guessed!
Liu’s comments were taken to support the Hong Kong Police Force who has been accused of using excessive force against anti-government protesters and journalists. So in response, a large number of people retaliated across social media using the hashtag #BoycottMulan and encouraging people to not see the movie.
Cue round two. Chinese nationalists rallied around the film online and launched a series of videos and memes to support the movie and the government under the hashtag #SupportMulan.
Demonstrating their typical fuckwit-like ability to try and put out a fire by pouring gasoline on it, the US social media giants got involved. YouTube and Facebook started their censorship engines and declared a large number of accounts linked to the #SupportMulan campaign stating they were:
“…deliberately and specifically attempting to sow political discord in Hong Kong, including undermining the legitimacy and political positions of the protest movement on the ground”.
Following an internal investigation, Twitter said there was:
“…reliable evidence to support that this is a coordinated state-backed operation”.
Today Variety reports that content from suspicious accounts continues to spread online. The new Mulan actress is being used as something of a mascot in these videos and memes to try and discredit demonstrators. These active accounts have:
“All the hallmarks of being state-backed bots”.
Official Chinese news outlets have publicly backed a #SupportMulan campaign.
So Disney is now in the position of being defended by the worlds biggest and most controlling authoritarian dictatorship.
The Beijing-aligned Global Times, propaganda mouthpiece of the Chinese authorities, are now also trying to tell Disney what to do by warning that any attempt to recast the role:
“…lose a potential 1.4 billion Chinese audience.”
China and social media. You can’t win either way!