Towards the middle of Disney’s live-action remake of Mulan, the shape-shifting witch Xian Lang, played by Gong Li, finally encounters Liu Yifei’s Hua Mulan on the battlefield. Although Mulan is disguised as a man, Xian sees her true identity and tells her: “You will die pretending to be something that you are not.”

There is perhaps a lesson for Disney in these words.

Mulan is supposed to be just another Disney princess in a Chinese outfit – and the desire to be free and independent is seen in…


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