Disney remains on the defensive. After the fiasco of the release of Mulan on the Disney + platform, the feature film faces a call for boycott. At issue: the filming of certain scenes in the autonomous region of Xinjiang, where Beijing is pursuing a policy of large-scale persecution against the Uighur Muslim minority. The anger, carried by associations and Internet users on social networks, has won over American and European politicians who condemn Chinese practices and the silence of Disney.
Sean Bailey, the president of film production at Disney, tried to respond to Iain Duncan Smith, a member of the British Conservative Party who called on the firm to explain itself. He defends the film and maintains in particular that the studios’ line is to respect the uses of the territories. It also evokes artistic reasons.
“The decision to film in each of these locations was made by the producers of the film with authenticity as the goal, and was never influenced by Chinese, national or local authorities, wrote Sean Bailey. He explains that the rules must be followed by “all foreign production companies wishing to work in China. These companies are not allowed to work independently and must collaborate with a Chinese production company“.
Obviously, human rights take precedence over the company’s policy of not offending China
Iain Duncan Smith, member of the British Conservative Party
The representative of the firm still defends himself by explaining that the operations in the incriminated areas were brief. “Filming in the desert setting of China’s Xinjiang region lasted only four days, compared to 143 days of filming in New Zealand, which only equates to 78 seconds out of the film’s 1h55.“He also explains that in 2017, the date of the spotting in China,”neither the UK nor the US had warned companies of possible risks, nor had region-specific guidelines in place“.
These arguments are far from having convinced Iain Duncan Smith. The parliamentarian believes that “Disney just doesn’t want to offend China, has given in to China’s demands and won’t stand up to it. Obviously, human rights take precedence over the company’s policy of not offending China“.
Internment camps where more than a million Uighurs are held are set up in China, in the Xinjiang region. The French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, declared on October 6 that he wanted “immediately close the internment camps“And hopes soon a”visit of the United Nations High Commissioner“.