'South Park' creators Matt Parker and Trey Stone frequently skewer authority figures Photo: GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File
entertainment

'South Park' creators issue mock apology over China censorship

32 Comments
By KEVORK DJANSEZIAN

The creators of "South Park" have issued a mock apology to China after censors scrubbed their popular animation from the Chinese web.

The tongue-in-cheek statement, skewering Beijing's demands that western brands conform to its world view, came with officials apparently annoyed about an episode that crossed several of the Communist Party's red lines.

The episode -- called "Band in China" -- depicted forced labor at a Chinese prison, and parodied companies that cave-in to censorship for commercial gain.

"I can't sell my soul like this," says one character, who was under pressure from Chinese censors to rewrite his music.

"It's not worth living in a world where China controls my country's art," he added.

The incident comes as the NBA and its Houston Rockets franchise are facing fierce criticism and financial punishment in China over a tweet supporting Hong Kong's democracy protesters.

Both the league and the team have scrambled to apologize over the tweet by Rockets' general manager Daryl Morey, as calls for a boycott gather steam in one of the NBA's most lucrative markets.

But the apologies have sparked derision in the United States, where critics said the league was sacrificing morals for money.

Writing on Twitter, "South Park" creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone offered spoof contrition over any offense they had caused in China with their satirical show.

"Like the NBA, we welcome the Chinese censors into our homes and into our hearts," they wrote.

"We too love money more than freedom and democracy. Xi doesn’t look just like Winnie the Pooh at all," the statement added, a reference to banned memes comparing Chinese President Xi Jinping with AA Milne's portly bear.

"Long live the Great Communist Party of China! May this autumn's sorghum harvest be bountiful! We good now China?" the statement read.

On Tuesday, searches for "South Park" on China's Twitter-like social media platform Weibo and popular film review site Douban did not return any results.

And while information on South Park was still available on a few video streaming sites, episodes could not be played.

Parker and Stone's response to China stands in stark contrast to that of major Western brands who have quickly beaten a retreat when faced with potential losses in China's huge -- and fiercely nationalistic -- consumer market.

Companies ranging from airlines to fashion houses have issued fulsome apologies, often after being charged with "hurting the feelings of the Chinese people".

As well as any indication of support for protests in Hong Kong, common crimes include labeling Taiwan as a separate country -- China believes it is a renegade province -- or discussing Xinjiang, where rights groups say a million mostly-Muslim minorities are being held in prison camps.

© 2019 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

32 Comments
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Mr Parker and Mr Stone have used their creation to show the world what humor can do.

China has no answer for them!

31 ( +32 / -1 )

How many non-Chinese companies looked the other way as they gave in to CCP demands?

There are probably too many to list. They were too afraid to bring WTO charges rather than give all their intellectual property, training their replacements and now they get to compete everywhere in the world against subsidized Chinese companies. Hope they made their quarterly sales targets.

17 ( +18 / -1 )

You've got to love and admire the controversial stands 'South Park' takes unless you hate the freedom of speech.

26 ( +27 / -1 )

This does not surprise me. However, I was surprised that "South Parks" was allowed access in China being the kind of cartoon it is.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

This is why they're the best! America's greatest contribution to our world/society.

China & NBA hypocrites, killing 2 birds with one stone here.

17 ( +18 / -1 )

Very good indeed. More power to them!

14 ( +15 / -1 )

Good. We must all take a stand against china.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

NBA glad to sacrifice freedom for dough.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

I love humor that respects no limits, even if it offends! Free speech only means something if it includes speech that offends.

These days free speech seems to be viewed as only speech that doesn't offend or that only conforms to what is acceptable.

Awesome to see the South Park creators address this issue in the context of China's censorship and to do so in such a humorous manner!

13 ( +14 / -1 )

South Park is the best!

12 ( +12 / -0 )

However, I was surprised that "South Parks" was allowed access in China being the kind of cartoon it is.

Well, they generally disparage non-Chinese. They make a LOT of Americans especially look like imbeciles. It was good propaganda for them....until the sights were leveled squarely at China.

Even the City Wok guy contains element very complimentary to Chinese people...such as when he builds a wall around the town all by himself ostensibly just because he is Chinese and Chinese people are that hardworking and skilled.

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

Never really got into South Park but this is kinda funny.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

This is how you flip the finger with humor and intelligence.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Brilliant episode: https://southpark.cc.com/full-episodes/s23e02-band-in-china#source=2b6c5ab4-d717-4e84-9143-918793a3b636:63a32034-1ea6-492d-b95b-9433e3f62f8d&position=1&sort=airdate

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Xi: "Respect my authority!"

South Park: " **** you."

Life imitates art.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Well, they generally disparage non-Chinese. They make a LOT of Americans especially look like imbeciles. It was good propaganda for them....until the sights were leveled squarely at China.

I am sure early in season 1 or 2. There is an episode in which the kids play dodge ball for their school and become local champion. Then they go on to play in an international competition. However, all other teams pull out because one team is so powerful with their tough training and the use of drugs that always beat the hell out of their opponents. Guess what team is it? China. The Chinese kids are drawn having small eyes and wearing straw hats. I wonder maybe they pull that episode and allowed others for viewing.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Don't particularly like their show, but good on them for this.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Trey Parker and Matt Stone - the next president/Vice President ticket. As long as the presidency is doing comedy, it may as well be good comedy.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Somehow it doesn't surprise me that Matt Parker and Trey Stone would flip the bird to China, and with such style as well. If China doesn't like it, tough. It's not like South Park will lose out from this. If anything, China getting angry with them will only lead to South Park's popularity rising in countries that China bullies. They may even follow suit in responding to China's dictatorial moves with humour and sass.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

the league was sacrificing morals for money.

that's all we need to know

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Great stuff. Ain't that right, Akie :-)

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Beautiful !!..

4 ( +5 / -1 )

"Band in China"

I know this should be "banned in China", but with "band in China", I don't get the joke. Can someone explain this?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I know this should be "banned in China", but with "band in China", I don't get the joke. Can someone explain this?

The story line is about their musical band in China - but it's obviously a play on words about "banned in China"

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Bravo!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Saw that episode, laughed my butt off, China needs to get over itself and stop telling what other countries say or believe. Good on the guys from South Park to jab them in the eye.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I hope South Park will follow up on this topic again and more directly skewer the corporations that have sold their souls to the Chinese Communist Party for money. It brings into focus their true motivations when it comes to the various other ‘social justice ‘ issues the league involved itself in. They view their business model through a racial lens for profit and are some how blind to their own hypocrisy.

Corporations like the NBA and Nike are not the arbiters of morality they portray themselves to be. They are manipulating people for profit. That is clear for all to see now.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Admittedly haven't seen the episode mentioned, but as someone who has grown up in a system of free speech, I can use my imagination.

Mr. Xi is a dictator, and he does not like reminders of that truth. It is why dictatorships do not allow a free press.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

It is funny.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

South Park is comedy..

like it or loath it..

i have some better comedy..

The Great Leap Forward ...

how about that..?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I know this should be "banned in China", but with "band in China", I don't get the joke. Can someone explain this?

Kind of the same as their latest PS4/Xbox game, "The Fractured But Whole". They knew they wouldn't be allowed to use the intended name so they used this one. Which kind of sound more poetic and if you've played the game, it sounds just right.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Xi is winnie the pooh just swap honey for money.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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