The Mandarin draws similarities to Fu Manchu

Tony Leung’s casting as ‘The Mandarin’ in Marvel’s Shang-Chi has stirred up a racism debate

Tony Leung has been cast as ‘The Mandarin’ in Marvel’s upcoming superhero film Shang-Chicausing many to express concern about racism.

Leung, 57, will play the arch villain of Shang-Chi who is the son of Fu Manchu. Fu was a character created by British author Sax Rohmer in 1912 and is widely considered racist.

Although Fu will not feature in the film, comic book fans have expressed their concern regarding the similarities between The Mandarin and the controversial character.

“The Mandarin and Fu Manchu are both anti-Chinese characters. I don’t understand why some fans are defending them. Are they nuts?” wrote one person Weibo according to Inkstone.

“Naming the villain the Mandarin, a direct translation of our Chinese language, is definitely an insult to China. I’m not going to wait until Marvel names a villain as China to boycott. I will start with boycotting Shang-Chi,” wrote another.

“Marvel source material is extremely racist,” wrote one person on Twitter. “Shang Chi is the son of Fu Manchu. He later becomes a MI6 agent, and it seems in the movie his villain is going to be “The Mandarin”. The theme seems like it’ll be “heoric Westernized Asian defeats hordes of evil mainland Asians”.”

The Mandarin was featured in 2013’s Iron Man 3 and was played by Ben Kingsley. Some of criticized the comic book studio for their hypocrisy.

“Marvel was scared to have Iron Man’s classic villain, the Mandarin, in its films because they called him an “old racist stereotype”,” highlighted one Twitter user. “But now, Marvel feels safe and non-racist in introducing this “old racist stereotype”, since it’ll be in a movie with mostly Asian actors. Gutless.”

However some defended the inclusion of the character, stating that The Mandarin is not the same as Fu.

“The Mandarin and Fu Manchu are not the same person. All right?” one Weibo user wrote.

“It’s going to be a dicey proposition,” one Twitter user said. “The Mandarin is obviously a substitute for Fu Manchu, who was Shang Chi’s father in the comics. Both characters were racist relics from an earlier time. I hope they can pull it off, because I love that series.”

In related news, Kim’s Convenience actor Simu Liu and Crazy Rich Asians actress Awkwafina will also star in Shang-Chi.