A post on social media by high-profile actress Crystal Liu Yifei voicing support for police in Hong Kong has sparked an angry reaction in the city – including calls for a mass boycott of ‘Mulan’, her upcoming action flick for Disney.
Liu’s post on Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter, on Wednesday has been shared widely by pro-Beijing accounts.
The Chinese-born American actress, who has 65 million followers on her official account, reposted an image with the slogans “I support the Hong Kong police. You can beat me now,” and “What a shame for Hong Kong.”
She also included the hashtag “#I Also Support the Hong Kong Police#” with emojis of a heart and a flexing muscle.
But her patriotic remark sparked a wave of criticism outside mainland China and a campaign to boycott her upcoming film. By late Friday, the hashtag #BoycottMulan has over 32,000 tweets on Twitter.
And a post titled “Disney’s Mulan Actress Liu Yifei supports police brutality in Hong Kong” had been noted more than 33,000 times on Reddit.
Liu’s act of support for the Hong Kong police is similar to an interview that actor Jackie Chan gave with CCTV – posted online several days ago – saying he felt sad about the violence in the city.
The Chinese government had been running a propaganda campaign to discredit the Hong Kong protests as violent and people in the film industry say all celebrities working on the mainland are pressured to promote the official line.
Jackie Chan is one of Hong Kong’s favorite sons.
But most people in the city also recognize that Beijing is going all out by enlisting these heavyweights and seeking to smear the protest as a violent, foreign-backed plot adopted by privileged middle-class kids in the former British colony.
The backlash against Liu, who was born in China, has accused her of hypocrisy given she is also a naturalized American citizen “enjoying liberty and freedom that the protesters are fighting for now”.