The long-running and often politically incorrect “South Park” cartoon recently crossed a line with the communist People’s Republic of China, after an Oct. 2 episode made light of moves by Hollywood to appease Chinese censors.
Full episodes of “South Park” and even clips and forum discussions of the cartoon no longer appear on Chinese internet searches. According to Business Insider, the latest development may come as a result of the show’s recent episode “Band in China.”
Last week’s “Band in China” episode, a play on being banned in China, depicts one of the show’s characters attempting to film a biopic about their band, while Hollywood producers make constant concessions to appease China’s media regulations. The episode was a satirical take on Hollywood’s real efforts to maintain business relations in China, the second-largest theatrical market in the world.
Kyle returns to South Park and gives Stan a great idea, but the boys realize they can't betray their ideals. Watch the all-new episode, “Band In China” for FREE – https://t.co/oktKSJvjxS #southpark23 #fingerbang pic.twitter.com/Bq5K6gWjOV
— South Park (@SouthPark) October 3, 2019
Last year, after China’s ruling Communist Party eliminated presidential term limits, a series of popular memes began to emerge, comparing President Xi to “Winnie the Pooh,” a cartoon bear. In 2018, the meme had apparently become so disruptive in Chinese political discourse that China outright banned the Chinese theatrical release of a live-action adaptation of the cartoon, called “Christopher Robin.” Naturally, the “South Park” episode made references to the cartoon bear.
The spat between China and the politically incorrect “South Park” cartoon also coincided with a recent controversy between the NBA and China.
In reaction to the NBA controversy, the “South Park” creators appeared to steer into their existing dispute with Chinese censors, tweeting out a parody of the NBA apology.
“Like the NBA, we welcome the Chinese censors into our homes and into our hearts,” the show tweeted.
— South Park (@SouthPark) October 7, 2019
“We too love money more than freedom and democracy,” the tweet continued. “Xi doesn’t look just like Winnie the Pooh at all.”
The “South Park” tweet included a link to the offending “Band in China” episode and called on viewers to tune into its 300th episode on Wednesday.
“Long live the Great Communist Party of China. May this autumn’s Sorghum harvest be bountiful! We good now China?” the message concluded.
After Morey’s tweet over the weekend, the NBA and the team offered several apologies to communist China in an attempt to smooth over a public relations incident where Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted “Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong.”
The since-deleted tweet drew Chinese ire for its apparent support of pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong who have held months of demonstration in opposition to an extradition bill that would allow Hong Kong residents to be tried in mainland Chinese courts.
On Sunday, Morey sent out an apologetic message, “I have always appreciated the significant support our Chinese fans and sponsors have provided and I would hope that those who are upset will know that offending or misunderstanding them was not my intention.”
In addition, Houston Rockets star James Harden said “we love China” and the basketball league issued a wider apology that called Morey’s initial remarks “regrettable” and avowed “great respect for the history and culture of China.”
NEW: the NBA has released a statement on Daryl Morey: pic.twitter.com/FOI79W31b1
— Sopan Deb (@SopanDeb) October 7, 2019