Yifei, a Chinese-born US citizen, waded into the conversation last year at the height of the protests in Hong Kong, which began as largely peaceful demonstrations and eventually morphed into frequent clashes between protesters and police.
“I support the Hong Kong police. You can all attack me now. What a shame for Hong Kong,” she posted on Weibo in August 2019.
Calls to boycott “Mulan” followed immediately after and soon enough, #BoycottMulan was trending on Twitter — which is banned in China. Meanwhile, comments on Yifei’s post on Weibo, the dominant social platform in China, echoed her support for Hong Kong police and Beijing.
International audiences are key for ‘Mulan’
Now after multiple delays due to the coronavirus pandemic, “Mulan” is out on Disney+ in the US and is set to hit theaters abroad soon. International audiences, particularly in China, are a key part of the film’s theatrical strategy.
But tensions are still high in Hong Kong after Beijing imposed a controversial national security law on the city in June.
And now, renewed calls to boycott “Mulan” have also spread to activists in Thailand and Taiwan — propelled in large part by the #MilkTeaAlliance, an online movement uniting pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, Thailand and Taiwan with concerns about China’s influence in the region.
CNN’s Jessie Yeung, Frank Pallotta and Brian Lowry contributed to this report.