Artwork By: @illusionsgram_

To think of corporations as moral beings is but a delusion. Behind the facade of their upstanding rhetoric and performative actions, Disney is a perfect archetype of corporational hypocrisy. 

Disney has recently pledged $5 million in support of BLM and put out various statements and videos in support of the cause. On the surface, their actions can be viewed either as altruistic or an attempt to capitalise on popular political sentiment to gain PR points. The recent release of Mulan certainly holds the latter to be true. At the end of the day, businesses are driven by their bottom line not by morals. In a PC culture where a slight deviation from the common political consensus is enough to get anything ‘cancelled’; the few million spent in pandering is insignificant compared to the potential loss Disney could have faced, had they remained silent.

However, it seems as though Disney has spun themselves into a web walking this tightrope act between their expansion into China and their affected ‘morals’. Disney has been eyeing the Chinese market for a while and banked on making a big splash with the live-action remake of Mulan. Their expansion into China has been marred with attempts to appease the Chinese establishment, many of which contradict their feigned morals. The recent outcry against the live-action remake of Mulan is a result of Disney filming parts of the movie in Xinjiang, where an estimated 2 million Uyghurs and other ethnic Muslims are kept under captivity in concentration camps. At the end of the film. Disney thanked various Chinese entities associated with the concentration camps in Xinjiang. Including the Turpan Municipal Bureau of Public Security, which was sanctioned by the U.S. Commerce Department for its role in the operation of these concentration camps.

These internment camps came about in 2014, coincidently around the same time when China blamed a string of terrorist attacks on radical Uyghur separatist groups. Until 2018 the Chinese government denied the existence of such camps but the insurmountable amount of satellite evidence, leaked official documents and eyewitness testimony left them with little choice. Since then, China has branded these concentration camps as “vocational education and training centres” to teach “troubled” members of society practical skills. Authorities have sent over a million Uyghurs to these “re-education camps” based on trumped-up charges and in most cases no evidence at all. They can be imprisoned for a slew of trivial and draconian reasons such as growing a beard, contacting family members abroad or wearing traditional Uyghur clothing. 

Behind the facade of such blatant falsehood lies the despicable truth. In these camps, they are deprived of basic human rights and kept in appalling conditions. They are forced to denounce Islam and adopt the Chinese Communist Party’s doctrines. Detainees are also sent to factories without their consent where they are forced to do menial jobs. Many Fortune 500 companies have been implicated in scandals where they have had their goods manufactured in factories which use forced Uyghur labour.

However, these horrors aren’t confined to the walls of these camps. The Uyghur population is under constant observation by the Chinese government. By using Artificial Intelligence and facial recognition software integrated into a vast web of surveillance cameras, coupled with countless checkpoints, the Chinese government constantly monitors and restricts the movement of Uyghurs. Furthermore, they have also launched numerous malware campaigns to spy on Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities not just in Xinjiang but worldwide. 

This article isn’t an attempt to undermine China or it’s rich history based on one bad episode. With the same token, actions of few Uyghurs cannot be used as a justification to punish an entire race. If we fail to do nothing we don’t risk just losing a culture but generations of Uyghurs will be deprived of their freedom and identity. To say that I am angry is an understatement, to say that I am hurt is an understatement, but to say nothing is an abomination of human decency. I urge the reader and appeal to their conscience in whatever capacity to play their part in stopping this great injustice, for our silence makes us complicit. 

Stories and Resources:

ASPI Investigation into Internment Camps

Tursun’s Story

Mehmet’s Story

Vice Documentary:

3 Thoughts on ““I’m Mad at Disney””

  • Congratulations Omer. Very good article. Your vocabulary is superb including your thoughts. Very good research done by you at your age. Keep it up. Allah Swt bless you. Continue writing.

  • What an insightful article. It really brings light to the facade that big corporations and countries put up to appease the public and hide the corruption and oppression.

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