South Park creators mock China after show is banned

South Park
South Park's latest episode 'Band in China' seems to have angered the Chinese government. Photo credit: Comedy Central

The creators of South Park have issued an apology to the Chinese government after the irreverent TV show was deleted from the country's internet.

But they did it in trademark tongue-in-cheek style.

The animated sitcom, which has been broadcast continuously since 1997, generated even more controversy than usual for its most recent episode 'Band in China' which criticised Hollywood's attempts to avoid Chinese censorship.

One subplot followed the characters as they starred in a film about their metal band, the script for which kept being altered so it could be distributed in China. Another saw a character sent to a work camp, similar to those in which up to a million Uighur Muslims are currently being held by the government for the purposes of religious 're-education'. 

Since the episode aired on October 2, all traces of South Park have been scrubbed from Chinese social media and streaming services. The Hollywood Reporter reports that discussion forum Baidu Tieba used to feature a thread devoted to the show, but the URL now links to a message reading: "According to the relevant law and regulation, this section is temporarily not open."

Neither social network Weibo nor streaming service Youku turn up any mention of South Park in their billions of respective posts and videos. 

South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone have responded to the ban with typical humour, writing in a statement posted to Facebook: 

"Like the NBA, we welcome the 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. Tune into our 300th episode this Wednesday at 10! Long live the great Communist Party of China. May the autumn's sorghum harvest be bountiful. We good now China?"

The Chinese government regulates the country's internet with an iron fist. In 2018 authorities began censoring images of beloved children's character Winnie the Pooh after memes surfaced that compared the tubby bear to President Xi Jinping.


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