As tensions continue to rise between the people of Hong Kong and mainland China, numerous Chinese celebrities have taken sides. Liu Yifei, star of Disney's upcoming live-action remake of Mulan, has turned to Weibo, a popular social media app in China, to express her support for the Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF).
The post features an image that reads (roughly translated), "I support the Hong Kong Police. You can fight me about it," followed by, "What a shame for Hong Kong." The image has been circulating across Chinese social media thanks to the online newspaper People's Daily, with many of Liu's followers voicing their support.
The HKPF has been the subject of controversy within Hong Kong, owing to their association with triads and use of excessive force against largely peaceful protesters -- and even journalists -- who have held numerous marches since March to oppose an extradition bill. The bill would have allowed criminals to be moved between Hong Kong, Taiwan and China.
This was seen by many as yet another attempt by China to encroach on the autonomy of the special administrative region, which, unlike the mainland, enjoys some level of democracy thanks to the "one country, two systems" policy. Over the last few months, the protests in Hong Kong have morphed into conflict between the pro-democratic people and advocates of the Communist Party of China.
Disney has shown a clear effort to appeal to Chinese audiences, which has become a significant contributor to the success of individual films in recent years. However, reactions to the live-action Mulan trailer were notably negative in China. It is uncertain whether Liu Yifei's pro-Beijing attitudes will negatively affect the reception of the film upon its release, which is the likeliest impact it will have among potential audiences in Hong Kong.
Mulan, directed by Niki Caro, stars Liu Yifei, Donnie Yen, Yoson An, Gong Li and Jet Lee. The film is scheduled to open on March 27, 2020.