The long list of corporations and organizations “woke”-en by the Black Lives Matter/”systemic racism” narrative – but that blind themselves to China’s human rights abuses and therefore do business with the communists there – continues to grow.
The rush to virtue-signal for BLM already seemed to include almost every major corporation following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Jacob Blake, in their confrontations with police. Even Chick-fil-A’s CEO projected his own white guilt onto fellow evangelical Christians, calling for them to “repent.” Yet tears for those under the boot of the ChiComs are largely missing.
Now we’ve got a major corporation – Disney – who worked closely with the local Chinese government agencies that are running re-education camps that imprison Uighurs, a Muslim-minority group. The BBC reported on Monday that the current release of the live-action “Mulan” was filmed in Xinjiang, where as many as 1 million Uighurs are detained.
The movie’s final credits thank several agencies in Xinjiang and in its city of Turpan, including its public security bureau, which runs the internment camps. One human rights activist, Shawn Zhang, tweeted that film crews could have passed by at least 7 of the camps between the Turpan airport and the location where they filmed.
It seems unlikely those involved with “Mulan” wouldn’t have known. According to reports, both the advance team and director Niki Caro visited the area before shooting started. The brutal campaign against the Uighers – which besides the camps reportedly included forced sterilizations, abortions, and broad surveillance – began in 2017, well before production began in early 2018.
And even if the Disney team could have made it all the way through its activities in Xinjiang without noticing their surroundings or hearing about the atrocities, executives should have known enough by wrap-up time to know not to “thank” the Uighurs’ prison management team.
According to NLPC Chairman Peter Flaherty, “Disney is saying Uighur lives don’t matter. Disney is worried about slavery in the United States that ended 155 years ago but is complicit in the slavery that exists right now in Xianjing.”
Flaherty continued, “Corporate executives have joined in the Left’s trashing of American history, a history that has allowed for the freedom, rule of law and property rights that have made them rich.
Mulan shows just shows how insincere corporate executives are about human rights. They want to bombard us with messages about how unjust this country is, but when confronted with what’s happening in China, and their own involvement in it, they have no answer.”
Unfortunately Mulan isn’t an isolated instance. Disney, and Hollywood overall, are desperate to maintain friendly relations with Beijing and retain the mass revenues that the Chinese movie audiences deliver. As syndicated columnist Rich Lowry outlined earlier this week, the industry has kowtowed to the country’s communist censors – removing any and all negative references about the nation and its government – to preserve its access to the market.
“Since Beijing can delay the release date of a movie or demand that scenes be reshot, and studios don’t want to deal with the uncertainty, Hollywood preemptively accedes to Beijing’s wishes,” Lowry explained.
If it wasn’t obvious enough that Disney is desperate to please the ChiComs, a top executive made it clear.
“If ‘Mulan’ doesn’t work in China, we have a problem,” said Alan Horn, chief creative officer of The Walt Disney Studios, in February.
But Disney’s appeasement of China extends beyond its film productions. The company also owns ABC and ESPN, which are in the middle of a 9-year, $24 billion broadcasting rights contract with the National Basketball Association. For the sports network, the relationship is second in importance only to the one it has with the National Football League.
With that in mind, ESPN has coddled and amplified the NBA and its players in pursuit of their pro-Black Lives Matter agenda, while failing to call the league to account for its silence about China’s abuses. As NLPC has reported, the NBA maintained a close relationship with the communist government so as to access its fan base and revenue opportunities – that is, until a tweet last year in defense of Hong Kong by Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey caused China to end broadcasts of games.
ESPN has aided the NBA in the mollification of the Chinese. Reporters almost never “go there” in media sessions with league officials or its players. And when Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri called NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to account in a letter about the league’s double-standards, and shared it with the sports media, he received a two-word reply from Adrian Wojnarowski, ESPN’s top basketball reporter: “F*** you,” without the asterisks.
And when two ESPN investigative reporters didexpose an embarrassing account about the NBA’s involvement with a training academy in Xinjiang, where several coaches claimed they were surveilled and that Chinese players were abused, the network hardly mentioned the story. It was out of character for the network that regularly promotes its enterprising sports journalism.
Meanwhile with “Mulan,” Hawley is demanding answers again. In a letter to Disney CEO Robert Chapek, he condemned the company for whitewashing the ongoing genocide of Uighurs and other Muslim ethnic minorities during the production of the film:
On August 13, 2018, Walt Disney Studios announced that production had begun on Mulan. By that time, numerous reports had been released by the U.S. government and non-government organizations concerning the mass internment of Uighurs and others in camps in Xinjiang. But that did not stop Disney from going to Xinjiang to film Mulan. Nor did it stop Disney from collaborating with the Chinese officials directly responsible for the atrocities at those camps…
Your decision to uncritically approve this film’s release rather than apologizing to those harmed by Disney’s actions is reprehensible. Your decision to put profit over principle, to not just ignore the CCP’s genocide and other atrocities but to aid and abet them, is an affront to American values.
Hawley, like NLPC with its Freedom4China campaign, seeks accountability from American corporations and organizations regarding the relationships they have with a nation that is hostile to the United States. Unfortunately when it comes to the entertainment industry, money speaks louder than any shame over hypocrisy, as Attorney General William Barr explained in a speech in July.
“Chinese government censors don’t need to say a word,” he said, “because Hollywood is doing their work for them.”