Chinese-American actress Liu Yifei has attracted support and brickbats online after voicing support for the Hong Kong police on social media this week amid the city’s anti-government protests.
There were calls to boycott Disney’s live-action remake of Mulan , in which she has the title role. The hashtag #BoycottMulan was trending on Twitter on Friday, featuring in more than 21,000 posts. Liu’ s name featured in more than 16,000 posts.
On Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter, where she has 65.6 million followers, Liu shared a post by People’s Daily, the official newspaper of China’s Communist Party, with the quote “I support Hong Kong police. You can beat me now,” as well as the English words “What a shame for Hong Kong”.
The quote was a reference to a statement made by Fu Guohao, a reporter for People’s Daily affiliate the Global Times who was mobbed by anti-government protesters at Hong Kong airport on Tuesday evening because they suspected he was a Chinese undercover agent. Liu included the hashtag, in Chinese, #IalsosupportHongKongPolice.
While the People’s Daily post has been widely shared by Chinese celebrities in similar social media posts, Liu’s was singled out because she is headlining a major Hollywood production.
The Hong Kong police have been widely accused of using excessive force against protesters, and even journalists covering the protests. The United Nations Human Rights Commissioner, Michelle Bachelet, this week voiced her concern about police use of force and echoed calls for an independent inquiry into police handling of the protests.
Some of the latest tweets about Liu’s Weibo post
— Nardia Huang (@NardiaHuang) August 16, 2019
#BoycottMulan how tone deaf do you have to be to support police brutality when you just filmed a character who is supposed to stand against oppression in its raw form? Pound sand. pic.twitter.com/Ug8pfh3JPN
— Tom S. Foolery (@foolery_s) August 16, 2019
She loves China.
She loves HK.
She supports the police because she supports peace.
You support riots and thugs.
You are the ones who support evil!!!#liuyifei#Mulan#BoycottMulan pic.twitter.com/3OBngQZf5V
— erinz (@erinzluvc) August 16, 2019
— Madeline Colombo (@ColomboMadeline) August 16, 2019
Critics of Liu’s Weibo post noted the irony of an American citizen banking her star turn in an American film while siding with authorities suppressing calls for democracy – a core value in the West, as many Twitter users were quick to point out.
Mulan will open in cinemas on March 27, 2020.
More from South China Morning Post:
- Jackie Chan’s comments on Hong Kong protests spark social media anger as martial arts star calls for peace
- First Mulan live-action trailer: the big takeaways, and fan reaction to teaser of Disney film starring Crystal Liu Yifei
- Crystal Liu Yifei: seven things you don’t know about the Chinese actress playing Mulan