Protesters call for boycott of Disney film remake after star voices support for police crackdown

Hong Kong protestors have called for a boycott of Disney's upcoming film Mulan after its lead actress expressed support for the city's police, who have been accused of using excessive force to crack down on demonstrations, CNN reports.

On Thursday, Liu Yifei, a Chinese actress who was chosen to star in Disney's live-action remake of the legendary Chinese tale, shared her thoughts on the Hong Kong protests on Weibo, a popular social media platform in China.

"I support the Hong Kong police," she wrote. "You can all attack me now. What a shame for Hong Kong."

The post drew immediate criticism from Twitter users, many of whom used the hashtag #BoycottMulan to call out Liu, a naturalised American citizen, for supporting police brutality and not recognising how fortunate she is to live in the US.

"Liu is a naturalised American citizen," one person wrote. "It must be nice. Meanwhile she pisses on people fighting for democracy."

"She lives in America, her family is in America, she's a citizen who enjoys all the protection and privileges of any American," another wrote. "That includes freedom of speech. If she wanted to, she could be a powerful voice for justice but instead, she supports this brutality."

Despite the backlash on Twitter, Liu has also reportedly received support on Weibo.

"Believe in the government, believe in the Chinese central (government), believe in the country," one user wrote in response to her post.

Liu moved to the United States with her mother when she was just 10 years old, according to the South China Morning Post. She lived in New York City for several years before returning to China to study at Beijing Film Academy, one of the largest film institutes in Asia. In 2017, she beat nearly 1,000 candidates for the role of Hua Mulan, who disguised herself as a man to take her father's place in the Chinese army.

In recent days, however, Liu has found herself in hot water for inserting herself into a sensitive conversation that has sparked mass protests throughout Hong Kong.

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Peaceful protests turn violent in Hong Kong
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Peaceful protests turn violent in Hong Kong
HONG KONG, HONG KONG - JUNE 12: A Protester throws back the tear gas during a protest against a proposed extradition law on June 12, 2019 in Hong Kong, Hong Kong. Large crowds of protesters gathered in central Hong Kong as the city braced for another mass rally in a show of strength against the government over a divisive plan to allow extraditions to China. (Photo by Billy H.C. Kwok/Getty Images)
HONG KONG, HONG KONG - JUNE 12: A group of riot police push the crowd back during a protest against a proposed extradition law on June 12, 2019 in Hong Kong, Hong Kong. Large crowds of protesters gathered in central Hong Kong as the city braced for another mass rally in a show of strength against the government over a divisive plan to allow extraditions to China. (Photo by Billy H.C. Kwok/Getty Images)
HONG KONG, HONG KONG - JUNE 12: A protester gestures during a protest against a proposed extradition law on June 12, 2019 in Hong Kong, Hong Kong. Large crowds of protesters gathered in central Hong Kong as the city braced for another mass rally in a show of strength against the government over a divisive plan to allow extraditions to China. (Photo by Billy H.C. Kwok/Getty Images)
HONG KONG, CHINA - 2019/06/12: Thousands of protesters occupied the roads near the Legislative Council Complex in Hong Kong to demand to government to withdraw extradition bill. The Hong Kong government has refused to withdraw or delay putting forward the bill after tens of thousands of people marched against it on Sunday. (Photo by Geovien So/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
HONG KONG, CHINA - 2019/06/12: Thousands of protesters occupied the roads near the Legislative Council Complex in Hong Kong to demand to government to withdraw extradition bill. The Hong Kong government has refused to withdraw or delay putting forward the bill after tens of thousands of people marched against it on Sunday. (Photo by Geovien So/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Protesters face off with police during a rally against a controversial extradition law proposal outside the government headquarters in Hong Kong on June 12, 2019. - Violent clashes broke out in Hong Kong on June 12 as police tried to stop protesters storming the city's parliament, while tens of thousands of people blocked key arteries in a show of strength against government plans to allow extraditions to China. (Photo by DALE DE LA REY / AFP) (Photo credit should read DALE DE LA REY/AFP/Getty Images)
HONG KONG, CHINA - 2019/06/12: A group of protester seen using umbrellas to defend themselves from the pepper spray and tear has from the police. Thousands of protesters occupied the roads near the Legislative Council Complex in Hong Kong to demand to government to withdraw extradition bill. The Hong Kong government has refused to withdraw or delay putting forward the bill after tens of thousands of people marched against it on Sunday. (Photo by Geovien So/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
HONG KONG, CHINA - 2019/06/12: A group of riot police took back a section of the road near the legislative council complex after clearing the protesters out by using tear gas. Thousands of protesters occupied the roads near the Legislative Council Complex in Hong Kong to demand to government to withdraw extradition bill. The Hong Kong government has refused to withdraw or delay putting forward the bill after tens of thousands of people marched against it on Sunday. (Photo by Geovien So/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Police fire tear gas at protesters during a rally against a controversial extradition law proposal outside the government headquarters in Hong Kong on June 12, 2019. - Violent clashes broke out in Hong Kong on June 12 as police tried to stop protesters storming the city's parliament, while tens of thousands of people blocked key arteries in a show of strength against government plans to allow extraditions to China. (Photo by DALE DE LA REY / AFP) (Photo credit should read DALE DE LA REY/AFP/Getty Images)
A policeman shouts at protesters during a rally against a controversial extradition law proposal outside the government headquarters in Hong Kong on June 12, 2019. - Violent clashes broke out in Hong Kong on June 12 as police tried to stop protesters storming the city's parliament, while tens of thousands of people blocked key arteries in a show of strength against government plans to allow extraditions to China. (Photo by DALE DE LA REY / AFP) (Photo credit should read DALE DE LA REY/AFP/Getty Images)
Protesters occupy a road as they attend a rally against a controversial extradition law proposal outside the government headquarters in Hong Kong on June 12, 2019. - Violent clashes broke out in Hong Kong on June 12 as police tried to stop protesters storming the city's parliament, while tens of thousands of people blocked key arteries in a show of strength against government plans to allow extraditions to China. (Photo by DALE DE LA REY / AFP) (Photo credit should read DALE DE LA REY/AFP/Getty Images)
Protesters run after police fired tear gas during a rally against a controversial extradition law proposal outside the government headquarters in Hong Kong on June 12, 2019. - Violent clashes broke out in Hong Kong on June 12 as police tried to stop protesters storming the city's parliament, while tens of thousands of people blocked key arteries in a show of strength against government plans to allow extraditions to China. (Photo by Anthony WALLACE / AFP) (Photo credit should read ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP/Getty Images)
Police fire non-lethal projectiles during violent clashes against protesters in Hong Kong on June 12, 2019. - Violent clashes broke out in Hong Kong on June 12 as police tried to stop protesters storming the city's parliament, while tens of thousands of people blocked key arteries in a show of strength against government plans to allow extraditions to China. (Photo by ISAAC LAWRENCE / AFP) (Photo credit should read ISAAC LAWRENCE/AFP/Getty Images)
A protester throws back a tear gas during clashes with police outside the government headquarters in Hong Kong on June 12, 2019. - Violent clashes broke out in Hong Kong on June 12 as police tried to stop protesters storming the city's parliament, while tens of thousands of people blocked key arteries in a show of strength against government plans to allow extraditions to China. (Photo by Anthony WALLACE / AFP) (Photo credit should read ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Protesters leave the area after police fired tear gas during a rally against a controversial extradition law proposal outside the government headquarters in Hong Kong on June 12, 2019. - Violent clashes broke out in Hong Kong on June 12 as police tried to stop protesters storming the city's parliament, while tens of thousands of people blocked key arteries in a show of strength against government plans to allow extraditions to China. (Photo by DALE DE LA REY / AFP) (Photo credit should read DALE DE LA REY/AFP/Getty Images)
A protester throws back a tear gas during clashes with police outside the government headquarters in Hong Kong on June 12, 2019. - Violent clashes broke out in Hong Kong on June 12 as police tried to stop protesters storming the city's parliament, while tens of thousands of people blocked key arteries in a show of strength against government plans to allow extraditions to China. (Photo by Anthony WALLACE / AFP) (Photo credit should read ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP/Getty Images)
Protesters in masks and goggles chant slogans outside the Legislative Council in Hong Kong on June 12, 2019. - Hong Kong authorities delayed the second reading of a controversial bill allowing extradition to mainland China as tens of thousands of protesters blockaded government headquarters. (Photo by Philip FONG / AFP) (Photo credit should read PHILIP FONG/AFP/Getty Images)
Police rest on a street as protesters (not pictured) attend a rally against a controversial extradition law proposal outside the government headquarters in Hong Kong on June 12, 2019. - Tens of thousands of protesters paralysed central Hong Kong, blocking major roads in a defiant show of strength against government plans to allow extraditions to China. By late morning, with crowds continuing to swell, officials in the Legislative Council (Legco) said they would delay the second reading of the bill "to a later date". (Photo by DALE DE LA REY / AFP) (Photo credit should read DALE DE LA REY/AFP/Getty Images)
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In June, Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam pulled a controversial bill that would have allowed authorities to extradite those who commit crimes in Hong Kong to mainland China, where the rule of law can be less forgiving. Still, demonstrators in Hong Kong have been left unsatisfied, calling for Lam's resignation and demanding greater freedoms.

What initially started out as peaceful protests has since become violent at times. On Tuesday, demonstrators clashed with police in riot gear at Hong Kong's main airport terminal. In a tweet, the Hong Kong Police Force said that one person was injured and that protesters were blocking ambulance access.

Several Hong Kong celebrities, including Jackie Chan, Tony Leung and Daniel Chan have spoken out against the violence. Chan, in particular, has been criticised for the nationalist tone of his message.

"Hong Kong and China are my birthplaces and my home," he said in an interview with Chinese broadcaster CGTN TV. "China is my country, I love my country, I love my home."

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