“South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone might have pushed their luck with the show’s latest episode.
Titled “Band In China”, the episode is a critique of the way Hollywood shapes its content to ensure Chinese government censors aren’t offended. In it, Randy gets caught selling weed in China and is sent to a work camp resembling the ones Beijing uses in Xinjiang Province to hold Chinese Muslims for political indoctrination. A second plot sees Stan, Jimmy, Kenny, and Butters form a metal band. After the band gains popularity, a manager wants to make a film about them but the script is constantly being changed so the film can be shown in China.
“Now I know how Hollywood writers feel,” Stan says as a Chinese guard continues to alter his work as he writes the film’s script.
In response to the episode, the Chinese government has deleted all clips, episodes and online discussions of “South Park” from streaming services and social media, including fan pages. Searching threads and sub-threads related to the show on Baidu’s Tieba, for instance, comes back with a message that reads, “According to the relevant law and regulation, this section is temporarily not open.”
This type of response from the Chinese government is not uncommon. When internet users began comparing Chinese president Xi Jinping to Winnie the Pooh, they heavily censored the character.
More recently, after NBA Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted solidarity with Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protestors, Chinese broadcasters announced that they would stop airing Houston Rockets games and local sponsors pulled their funding.
The “South Park” co-creators took to Twitter on Monday to share their version of an apology.
“Long live the Great Communist Party of China,” they wrote. “Like the NBA, we welcome Chinese censors into our homes and into our hearts. We too love money more than freedom and democracy. Xi doesn’t look like Winnie the Pooh at all.”