Senator pens scathing letter to Disney CEO for filming 'Mulan' in China's Xinjiang amid human rights issues

The film is catching backlash for thanking government entities that are mistreating Uighur Muslims

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo, sent a scathing letter to Disney demanding answers for its decision to film parts of “Mulan” in China’s controversial Xinjiang province.

Many were quick to notice that the closing credits of “Mulan,” which was released on Sept. 4 on the Disney+ streaming platform, include a special thanks to eight government entities including the public security bureau in the city of Turpan, where more than a dozen “re-education camps” are said to be holding Uighur Muslim people in extrajudicial detention.

“The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is committing genocide in Xinjiang—and not just cultural genocide either,” Hawley wrote in a letter to Disney CEO Bob Chapek. “There was a time when Beijing might have been satisfied with enslaving Uighurs and other Muslim ethnic minorities, even as it tortured them into abandoning their beliefs and swearing loyalty to the Party. But that is no longer the case. Now Beijing appears intent on destroying the Uighur people. And it has rolled out a sophisticated campaign to do just that, including by systematically sterilizing Uighur women and aborting their children.”


Disney's 'Mulan' is catching backlash for filming in China's controversial Xinjiang province. (Disney)

The Senator took issue with the closing credits of “Mulan,” in which the company also thanked the publicity department of CPC Xinjiang Uighur Autonomy Region Committee, the Chinese Communist Party’s agency that’s allegedly responsible for producing state propaganda about its efforts to detain Uighurs in the region, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“Disney’s whitewashing of the ongoing Uighur genocide is contrary to all of your company’s supposed principles. Just a few weeks ago, for instance, you wrote about the need to ‘confront the inscrutable idea that the lives of some are deemed less valuable—and less worthy of dignity, care and protection—than the lives of others,’” he wrote. “Elsewhere, Disney has declared its commitment ‘to providing comfort, inspiration, and opportunity to children and families around the world’ and described its ‘commitment to respect human rights’ as a ‘core value.’”

He continued: “How exactly does giving ‘special thanks’ to the officials responsible for imprisoning, torturing, and forcibly sterilizing millions of people because of their ethnicities and beliefs align with your supposed commitment to promoting human dignity and respecting human rights? How does glorifying the Chinese authorities perpetrating abuses in Xinjiang provide comfort, inspiration, and opportunity to Uighur children—including those who were never born because the CCP forced their mothers to abort them? Disney’s actions here cross the line from complacency into complicity.”


The Senator concludes his letter by asking Disney nine hard questions about its relationship to what’s going on in Xinjiang and the company’s compliance with it, including: "How did Disney compensate the Turpan Public Security Bureau and other Chinese agencies for any assistance rendered? Is Disney still providing compensation to the Chinese entities listed in the Mulan closing credits, and does it plan to provide compensation to these entities in the future?"

U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) wrote a letter to the CEO of Disney over the company's decision to film in China's Xinjiang province. (Al-Drago-Pool/Getty Images)

Xinjiang has been the epicenter of a debate about how China treats its Muslim minorities. Many Uighur residents have been detained in internment camps where they are reportedly subject to forced political indoctrination, forced labor and forced sterilization.

According to Reuters, China's foreign ministry spokesman, Zhao Lijian, was asked about the film shooting in Xinjiang and responded with a denial of the existence of re-education camps, instead calling the facilities there vocational and educational institutions and reportedly blamed anti-China forces for smearing its Xinjiang policy.

With both parties in the U.S. condemning what’s going on in China, USC professor and China expert Stanley Rosen told Deadline that it wouldn’t be surprising to see Disney called to testify in Washington about its relationship with China.


“That will put Disney in an uncomfortable position since they can’t afford — financially — to upset China, but they also don’t want to be seen as a ‘running dog’ of China,” he explained.

Reps for Disney did not immediately respond to Fox News' request for comment.