China has banned South Park, which ignited international controversy after the Comedy Central show mocked Hollywood for trying to appease Chinese censors.
Beijing has scrubbed every trace of Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s long-running animated comedy from its heavily regulated corner of the internet, after an episode entitled “Band in China” took Hollywood to task for its appeasement of communist censorship.
When the group of young protagonists start a successful metal band, a Hollywood executive decides to turn their journey into a biopic feature film. However, the script is continuously rewritten to ensure it can be distributed in China. “Now I know how Hollywood writers feel,” Stan Marsh says as he writes under the watchful eye of a Chinese guard.
The episode takes aim at Disney, with a scene in which the show’s version of Mickey Mouse — a ruthless executive — is depicted trying to ensure various Disney and Marvel characters play ball with the Chinese authorities. China has even censored Winnie the Pooh.
South Park also skewers the work camps the Chinese government has built in the Xinjiang Provence, where as many as a million Chinese Muslims are being held for political indoctrination. Stan’s father, Randy Marsh, attempts to sell weed in China and gets sent to a reeducation camp — where he meets Winnie the Pooh.
Texas Senator and former presidential candidate Ted Cruz voiced his support on Twitter. “Annoy a communist. Watch South Park,” he said, tagging the NBA in response to the basketball association’s decision to apologize to the Chinese government for a tweet by the Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey in support of pro-democracy protesters.
Today, Matt Stone and Trey Parker released a public “apology” to China’s communist leadership in their typical style. “Like the NBA, we welcome the Chinese censors into our homes and into our hearts,” they tweeted in response to an article about the episode on The Hollywood Reporter. “Xi doesn’t look just like Winnie the Pooh at all.” They provided a direct link to the episode, and promoted their upcoming 300th, before their conclusion:
“We good now China?”