Detainees Endure Forced Labor in Xinjiang Region Where Disney Filmed Mulan

Detainees at an internment camp in an area of northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), where Disney shot part of its blockbuster film Mulan, are being subjected to forced labor making socks and crushing gravel, according to a local official. Disney released its U.S. $200 million live-action version of the popular 1998 animated film “Mulan” about a young woman who pretends to be a man so that she can join the military on behalf of her sick father on its streaming platform Disney+ on Sept. 4. In the credits of the long-awaited remake, the company thanks several entities known to have contributed to Beijing’s repressive rule in the XUAR, where authorities are believed to have held up to 1.8 million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in a vast network of internment camps since April 2017. Among those thanked in the credits are the Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda commission in the XUAR, which has sought to justify the camps as voluntary “vocational centers,” despite reporting by RFA’s Uyghur Service which has found that detainees are mostly held against their will in poor conditions, where they are forced to endure inhumane treatment and political indoctrination. Disney also thanked the Turpan (in Chinese, Tulufan) prefectural branch of the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau, which in July was sanctioned by the Trump administration for its role in abuses in the region. Turpan, where the film was shot in part, is a prefecture-level city in eastern Xinjiang whose population of around 650,000 people is some 75 percent Uyghur. The ancient Silk Road city is known as being one of the earliest to have rolled out a campaign of “transformation through education” of Muslims, beginning in August 2013. RFA recently learned from local police officers that as many as eight camps are in operation within the prefecture’s boundaries, despite claims in Paris earlier this month by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi that all those sent to camps in the XUAR have been released and placed in employment. A source who is familiar with the situation in Turpan, but declined to be named for fear of reprisal, told RFA that authorities sent many residents to one of the camps outside of Turpan city in 2017 as part of what they initially termed a “15-day training session” that was to be completed at the end of China’s Oct. 18-25 19th Party Congress held in Beijing that year. However, families of the detainees were later told that, because the “training” had resulted in a “positive effect on social stability,” those at the camp would remain there for the foreseeable future, according to the source. By the end of 2017, camp authorities had begun building factories inside the camp and detainees were made to wear color-coded uniforms that classified them according to their so-called “crimes,” the source said. No salaries provided When pressed for details about the camp, the political commissar of the Chengzhen District Police Station, in Turpan’s Toksun (Tuokexun) county, told RFA that the camp, which is the prefecture’s largest, is located “outside of Turpan city,” without elaborating. But a Uyghur police officer in the seat of Toksun county, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told RFA that the camp is known as the No. 4 Training Center, located in the desert along the highway linking the county to Turpan city, and houses detainees who are forced to labor in factories built within the walls of the complex. “There is nothing there but a training school—it’s six to 10 kilometers (four to six miles) outside of [Turpan] city center … in the middle of the desert,” he said. “It’s still there in operation. Right now, there are factories built inside there and they are manufacturing socks and household items. There is also a gravel factory inside. I was told that some are working in the gravel factory and others are working in the sock factory.” The officer said he was unsure of how many buildings exist within the complex because he is not permitted to enter but claimed there are “numerous” structures there. “No one from the outside is allowed in for security reasons,” he said. When asked whether detainees are provided salaries for the work they do, the officer said, “no, not yet.” Those who have been accused of more serious “crimes” are taken to work at the Zhongtai Yanhua Gurong Cement Factory at 6:00 a.m. each morning and returned to the camp at 8:00 p.m. “It’s in Toksun’s Awghuy village, about 60 kilometers (37 miles) outside of the county center,” he said. “I don’t know how many people work there but there are a lot of them.” Forced labor scheme Reports of the forced labor conditions in Turpan come amid indications that China is increasingly relocating some inmates of its three-year-old internment camp program that has drawn international condemnation and U.S. sanctions, sending many to work in factories across China and arbitrarily sentencing others to prison terms without trials. Investigations by RFA have found that former detainees placed in forced and coerced labor schemes following their detention are regularly required to surrender part of their pay to camp administrators. In some cases, they are housed in dormitories on their workplace campuses and only permitted to visit their families at home as little as once a month. On Monday, the Trump administration announced new customs actions to block imports of hair, apparel, and cotton products believed to be produced with forced labor by three entities from Xinjiang, as well as computer parts produced by one from eastern China’s Anhui province. In a message posted to Twitter that day, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo slammed China’s “immoral use of forced labor,” which he said “is at odds with American values.” “We won't tolerate products exported to the U.S. made on the backs of Uyghurs and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups across China,” he wrote. Mulan backlash Disney has faced significant backlash, including a growing call to boycott Mulan, over its decision to film in the XUAR despite ongoing rights abuses there, as well as for thanking entities linked to mass incarceration in the region. Last week, the co-chairs of the bipartisan Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and Representative Jim McGovern of Massachusetts led 17 other U.S. lawmakers in writing an open letter to Disney Chief Executive Officer Bob Chapek, demanding clarification on the company’s cooperation with XUAR agencies. Globally, Mulan has earned U.S. $37.6 million to date at the box office. The film, which has faced tough reviews in China for what critics say are poor action scenes and its deviation from the plot of the original animated feature, endured a disappointing debut of only U.S. $23.2 million. Reported by Shohret Hoshur for RFA’s Uyghur Service. Translated by Mamatjan Juma. Written in English by Joshua Lipes.

Continue Reading Detainees Endure Forced Labor in Xinjiang Region Where Disney Filmed Mulan

US Media Pans Disney Over Filming Mulan in Xinjiang

U.S. media outlets have questioned Disney’s decision to film parts of its new blockbuster film in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) amid a campaign by Beijing that has seen hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs thrown in extrajudicial detention. Disney released its U.S. $200 million live-action version of the popular 1998 animated film “Mulan” about a young woman who pretends to be a man so that she can join the military on behalf of her sick father on its streaming platform Disney+ on Sept. 4. In the credits of the long-awaited remake, the company thanks several entities known to have contributed to Beijing’s repressive rule in the XUAR, where authorities are believed to have held up to 1.8 million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in a vast network of internment camps since April 2017. Among those thanked in the credits are the Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda commission in the XUAR, which has sought to justify the camps as voluntary “vocational centers,” despite reporting by RFA’s Uyghur Service which has found that detainees are mostly held against their will in poor conditions, where they are forced to endure inhumane treatment and political indoctrination. Disney also thanked the Turpan branch of the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau, which in July was sanctioned by the Trump administration for its role in abuses in the region. On Monday, Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby calls for a boycott of the film, saying that because Disney had gone out of its way to thank state agencies responsible for rights abuses in the XUAR, “anyone with a functioning conscience should be nauseated.” He noted that while Disney in 1996 produced the movie Kundun, about the life of exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, it quickly apologized for the film after Beijing restricted the company’s access to Chinese audiences. “Maybe Disney has no qualms about its open and shameless collaboration with the brutes of Beijing, but the rest of us should,” Jacoby writes. “Don’t reward that collaboration with your dollars. Boycott ‘Mulan.’” Disney also drew the ire of CNN anchor Jake Tapper during his State of the Union segment on Sunday, during which he slammed the company for thanking XUAR entities in the film’s credits. He also dismissed an attempt last week by Disney’s Chief Financial Officer Christine McCarthy to justify the company’s decision, citing “common knowledge” that filming in China requires the permission of government publicity departments and saying it is standard practice to acknowledge national and local governments in film credits. “Really? How standard is it to film in an area where the local government has concentration camps and is being accused of genocide?” Tapper asked. “I guess we should be happy no parts of Fantasia needed to be filmed in occupied Poland.” Letter from lawmakers The two reports followed the release of a Sept. 11 open letter to Disney Chief Executive Officer Bob Chapek from co-chairs of the bipartisan Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and Representative Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, as well as 17 other U.S. lawmakers, demanding clarification on the company’s cooperation with XUAR agencies. “The decision to film parts of Mulan in the XUAR, in cooperation with local security and propaganda elements, offers tacit legitimacy to these perpetrators of crimes that may warrant the designation of genocide,” the letter read. The lawmakers noted that Disney states on its website that the company believes “social responsibility is a long-term investment that serves to strengthen our operations and competitiveness in the marketplace, enhance risk management, attract and engage talented employees, and maintain our reputation.” “We seek to fully understand how you implement this commitment in the activities you undertake in China,” the letter said. Globally, Mulan has earned U.S. $37.6 million to date at the box office. The film, which has faced tough reviews in China for what critics say are poor action scenes and its deviation from the plot of the original animated feature, endured a disappointing debut of only U.S. $23.2 million.

Continue Reading US Media Pans Disney Over Filming Mulan in Xinjiang

Can Pro Sports Survive The Great Awokening?

Imagine for a moment that you are the head of a company that saw its primary product’s popularity sink among Republicans and Independents by 46 and 36 points respectively in the space of a year. I don’t care what the product is. It could be a bar of soap. As a capitalist, you’d have some questions. You’d be open to ideas about what you did wrong. You’d consider all the possibilities. You certainly wouldn’t reject it as out of touch or imply that it’s racist to suggest your affiliation with a radical race-focused agenda was the issue involved. But then you wouldn’t be billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban, famous for Shark Tank, owning the Dallas Mavericks, and as a dude who should probably slow his roll on fillers. Last night he got into it in a lengthy argument with Townhall’s Guy Benson over a new Gallup poll, which illustrates in shocking detail the challenge facing pro sports in the era of the Great Awokening. Well, I disagree strongly with them. And I do have a problem with calling police pigs & the country racist. I also believe he has the right to say whatever he wants (🇺🇸). I have learned from some blm advocates — while also not being terribly interested in “learning” from Kaep. https://t.co/sql0nJBnkj — Guy Benson (@guypbenson) September 12, 2020 As Tristan Justice writes: According to Gallup, the sports industry now boasts a negative image among U.S. adults: 30 percent see the sports industry positively, compared to 40 percent reporting a negative image. This year’s survey illustrates a 30 percent decline from American views on the sports industry a year ago, when the corporate sports enjoyed a net positive 20 percent rating, with 45 percent of Americans reporting a favorable opinion compared to 25 percent who said otherwise.The data comes at a particularly tumultuous time for the industry facing headwinds on multiple fronts, from rebelling teams and players protesting police use of force on those resisting arrest to schedule irregularities this year as leagues struggle to circumvent challenges presented by the Wuhan coronavirus.Gallup shows sports favorability among Republicans sinking overwhelmingly in comparison to Democrats, with a 46 percent drop in a positive outlook among Republicans whereas Democrats only saw a 5 percent drop in their favorability towards corporate sports in the last year. Perhaps even more troublesome for owners who feel this is just white conservatives being resistant to change, the drop was even bigger among non-whites – a 35-point negative swing versus 26 points, perhaps indicating that woke white Democrats are totally down with the wokeness. As I wrote last month, the real problem facing pro sports is that they’re engaging in this behavior not at the behest of their fans, but at the behest of the overwhelmingly leftist (and white) corporate media that covers them. Most fans watch sports out of allegiance and a desire to be entertained. The more this entertainment is interrupted by political posturing, the more people will tune out and find different entertainment. According to internal analysis shared with me about the NFL’s performance, they found fans don’t typically drop away entirely – they just watch fewer games. Instead of watching their own team and a bunch of other games every Sunday, they shrink back to watching just the team they care the most about. The NFL’s plan to squelch all of this is to show the National Anthem on the first weekend of games then not show it at all, so the performative kneeling and the like will become moot. But Cuban’s willingness to engage in a blatant public performance which pretends as if a 46-point drop among Republicans and a 36-point drop among Independents is just noise is a sign of how much corporate owners are willing to engage in gaslighting in order to avoid a hard question about the downsides of what they’re doing.

Continue Reading Can Pro Sports Survive The Great Awokening?