China has banned all episodes of South Park and outlawed any discussion of the long-running cartoon from the internet after the Comedy Central show mocked Hollywood for acquiescing to the communist nation’s censorship rules.
“Band in China,” the most recent episode of South Park, roasts Hollywood for shaping its films and music to specifically avoid the wrath of Chinese censors.
The Chinese authoritarian government retaliated against South Park’s mockery of the government by removing all clips, episodes, and online discussion of the show from Chinese streaming services, social media, and even fan pages.
“A cursory perusal through China’s highly regulated Internet landscape shows the show conspicuously absent everywhere it recently had a presence,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. “A search of the Twitter-like social media service Weibo turns up not a single mention of South Park among the billions of past posts. On streaming service Youku, owned by Internet giant Alibaba, all links to clips, episodes and even full seasons of the show are now dead.”
“And on Baidu’s Tieba, China’s largest online discussions platform, the threads and sub-threads related to South Park are nonfunctional,” the publication noted. “If users manually type in the URL for what was formerly the South Park thread, a message appears saying that, ‘According to the relevant law and regulation, this section is temporarily not open.’”
The South Park episode that prompted the ban features the character Randy taking a trip to China to launch a marijuana business, but ends up getting arrested and thrown into a prison camp where he meets Winnie the Pooh and other Disney characters.
While Randy is locked up, the other South Park characters get fed up after a movie about their new metal band keeps changing direction to appease the standards of the Chinese government so the final product can be distributed in the country.
“Now I know how Hollywood writers feel,” Stan says at one point while he is writing a script and under surveillance by the Chinese guard.
China has also previously gone on a crusade against Winnie the Pooh, banning the movie Christopher Robin and images of Winnie the Pooh from the internet after web users compared the Chinese President Xi Jinping to the honey-loving, pudgy bear.
The censorship of South Park comes after China announced it would stop broadcasting Houston Rockets games. General manager of the Houston Rockets, Daryl Morey, tweeted his support for Hong Kong protesters over the weekend, drawing the ire of China’s thought police. The NBA apologized for Morey’s statement, but Beijing has refused to accept the concession.
South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone issued a statement, satirically apologizing for offending the Chinese government.
“Like the NBA, we welcome the Chinese censors into our homes and into our hearts,” the statement reads. “We too love money more than freedom and democracy. Xi doesn’t look like Winnie the Pooh at all. Tune into our 300th episode the Wednesday at 10 p.m. Long live the great Communist Party of China. May the autumn’s sorghum harvest be bountiful. We good now China?”
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