Disney Censors ‘Simpsons’ Episode In Hong Kong Because It Mocks Communist China

Gabriel Hays | November 29, 2021
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Disney is so in the pocket of the Chinese Communist Party, it’s scary. 

The multi-billion dollar media company, which makes a considerable profit from Chinese box office, is once again following the Chinese regime’s cultural and political dictates, removing an old episode of “The Simpsons” from its streaming platform in Hong Kong because it makes fun of the Chinese government.

As The Hollywood Reporter wrote on November 28, an episode from season 16 of the Simpsons was recently removed from the DisneyPlus streaming library for the Hong Kong region. “The missing episode 12, first broadcast in 2005, happens to be the one where Homer takes his family to China, where they visit Tiananmen Square.”

The episode pokes a bit of fun at Chinese culture throughout but really hits the Chinese government between the eyes with a gag criticizing the regime for the execution and cover up of the Tiananmen massacre, a horrific event where the Communist Chinese government’s military killed pro-Democracy student protesters in the nation’s capital in 1989.

Of course, the government moved to downplay their horrific crimes done during the massacre in the media and historical record. To this day “coverage or discussion of the event” is “tightly censored” in China. Though Western governments haven't forgotten. 

Thus, during the 2005 Simpsons episode, there is a moment where the characters come across a placard at the scene of the massacre. It says, “Tian An Men Square: On this site, in 1989, nothing happened.” 

Yes, you get the joke. That’s exactly what the Chinese government would want such a placard to say. 

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In Hong Kong, where the Communist Chinese government doesn’t have authority but has powerful influence, residents are not allowed to enjoy the Communist-deprecating joke. As one Hong Kong journalist, Alvin Lum, wrote on Twitter, “Disney has allegedly removed one episode of The Simpsons from the Hong Kong edition of Disney+.” He paired his tweet with the image from the scene.

THR reminded readers that recent, free speech-restricting legislation passed in Hong Kong has tamped down criticism of the Communist government: “Last month, the legislature put in place a new law banning films deemed contrary to China’s national security interests — an intentionally vague designation — from being screened or distributed in the city.”

Anyone who violates this ban could get up to three years in jail and end up paying a $130,000 fine.

So this seems to explain why Disney would pull the episode, though really, how could an American company just go along dutifully with disturbing Chinese censorship? Well because there is tons of money to be made. It’s for the same reason the producers of the recent live action Mulan thanked the government for letting them film in the same region where they literally imprison Uighur Muslims. 

So always, screw the Chinese government and screw Disney!

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