Published Oct 07, 2019After the undeniably great episode "Band in China," South Park has effectively been banned in China.
Last week, the episode found Trey Parker and Matt Stone setting their sights squarely on Hollywood and its frightening trend of shaping content to avoid offending Chinese government censors in any way, shape or form. In response, Beijing is now reportedly scrubbing the show from the internet.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the very IRL Chinese censors South Park put in its crosshairs are now deleting virtually ever clip and episode of the show in China, as well as even online discussion about South Park. This reportedly ranges from Chinese streaming services to social media to even fan pages.
South Park does not officially air in China, but pirated versions of new episodes have long circulated online.
THR explains: "A cursory perusal through China's highly regulated Internet landscape shows the show conspicuously absent everywhere it recently had a presence. A search of the Twitter-like social media service Weibo turns up not a single mention of South Park among the billions of past posts. On streaming service Youku, owned by Internet giant Alibaba, all links to clips, episodes and even full seasons of the show are now dead."
The publication continues: "And on Baidu's Tieba, China's largest online discussions platform, the threads and sub-threads related to South Park are nonfunctional. If users manually type in the URL for what was formerly the South Park thread, a message appears saying that, 'According to the relevant law and regulation, this section is temporarily not open.'"
For those who missed the "Band in China" episode, it features a few plots all centring on Chinese censorship and the very real consequences it is having on entertainment here in North America. This includes Stan trying to make a biopic about his newly formed band — a film that he must constantly rewrite and water down to appease Chinese censors.
The episode also finds Randy visiting China, where he finds the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Disney and the like doing the same to "suck on the warm teat of China." Randy quickly finds himself in a Chinese prison, where he also runs into Winnie the Pooh — a character infamously censored online because users often compared him to Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The "Band in China" episode marked just the second episode of South Park's newly launched Season 23.
UPDATE (10/7, 4:15 p.m. EDT): In response to the ban, Parker and Stone have now issued the following statement: "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 just like Winnie the Pooh at all. Tune into our 300th episode this Wednesday at 10! Long live the Great Communist Party of China! May this autumn's sorghum harvest be bountiful! We good now China?"