TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Evidence has surfaced showing that scenes from the controversial Disney film "Mulan" were shot near at least 10 internment camps and five prisons in China's Xinjiang Autonomous Region, prompting Uyghur activists to call for a worldwide ban on "Disney's propaganda movie."
On Monday (Sept. 7) Hong Kong-born British novelist Jeannette Ng (吳志麗) posted a screenshot of the film's closing credits in which Disney thanks a number of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) entities in Xinjiang, where part of the movie was filmed. Among these were two publicity departments in the city of Turpan and one in Shanshan County, indicating that filming took place in both areas.
The makers of the film even saw fit to thank the Turpan Municipal Bureau of Public Security, which the U.S. Commerce Department last October placed on its Entity List for engaging in "human rights violations and abuses in the implementation of China's campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs, Kazakhs, and other members of Muslim minority groups in the XUAR."
According to Vogue, the Xinjiang segments of the film were shot in the "singing dunes of the Mingsha Shan Desert" and a "clay-and-earth Mazar village in the Tuyuk Valley." Not to be confused with the "Singing Sand Dunes of Dunhuang in neighboring Gansu Province, desert scenes in the Shanshan Desert appear to have been shot in the region's Shanshan County.
Re-education Camp No. 87. (Google Earth image)
Medium journalist Shawn Zhang, who claims to have mapped out the numerous camps in Xinjiang, wrote that if the "Mulan" film crew landed at the Turpan airport and traveled along highway G312 to the Shanshan Desert, "They could see at least seven re-education camps." Zhang told Taiwan News that "Re-education Camp No. 87" is located in Shanshan County a mere seven kilometers away from where the Shanshan Desert scenes were shot.
The camp is officially called the Shanshan County Vocational Skill Education Center. Zhang said it is a stone material factory, based on satellite imagery.
The village referenced in the Vogue article appears to be Mazar Village in Turpan Tuyugou, which based on Zhang's map of internment camps is 46.9 km by car from "Re-education Camps No. 76, 77, 78." It is also 47.7 kilometers by car from "Re-education Camp No. 36."
Re-education Camps No. 76, 77, and 78 in red and prison in yellow. (Google Earth image)
On Tuesday (Sept. 8), the East Turkestan National Awakening Movement (ETNAM) cited a report from 2019 that gave the coordinates for a total of 182 "concentration camps," 209 prisons, and 74 labor camps in Xinjiang, which it refers to as East Turkestan. The group then announced it had discovered that ten internment camps and five prisons were within a 130-km radius of Turpan.
The group then pointed out that there are at least four internment camps and two prisons in the city itself. It added that there are four internment camps and two prisons in Turpan's Pichan County, while the prefecture-level city's Toksun County has one internment camp and a single prison.
This means there are at least ten internment camps and five prisons in the same city area as the "Mulan" shoot. The activists refuted the Chinese government's claim that internees in the "re-education" camps had "graduated" by citing satellite imagery from March to July of 2020 that shows the camps still in operation.
ETNAM map showing locations of internment camps in Turpan area. (Google Earth image)
In response to the credit the Disney film gave to CCP authorities in Xinjiang, the report cited ETNAM President Salih Hudayar:
“By filming the movie in Turpan, East Turkistan, where there are possibly hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs being detained in concentration camps and prisons, Disney is not only helping promote Chinese government propaganda but it is also helping the CCP whitewash the genocide faced by Uyghurs and demonizing the Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples of East Turkistan as “barbarians” and as enemies of China and the Chinese people.”
The organization then called on people across the globe to boycott "Disney's propaganda movie 'Mulan.'" The ETNAM demanded that Disney immediately cancel all screenings of the film and issue a formal apology to Uyghurs and "other Turkic peoples of East Turkestan," adding that the entertainment conglomerate should not be "complicit in the ongoing genocide."
An ETNAM representative told Taiwan News that based on the various government entities thanked in the closing credits, filming also took place at the "Flaming Mountains" in the Kumtag Desert, which is situated in Turpan's Gaochang District. They estimated that the nearest internment camp is within a 16-to 24-kilometer radius to the area that "Mulan" was filmed in.
The spokesperson then emphasized that to get to the area where the filming took place, the Disney crew would have passed "several concentration camps," some of which are visible from the highway. The ETNAM estimates that in some villages in Turpan, up to 80 percent of the Uyghur population has been detained.
Zhang's map of internment camps across Xinjiang: