The cult animated show South Park has always been known for its no holds barred satiric commentary. Along with lots of profanity, you can expect some pinching dialogues about politics and pop culture. So, it is was not a big surprise that the new episodes had China-related content.
After all, the country’s politics has been quite controversial in the news lately.
In the episode on season 23, Randy goes to China in an attempt to grow his marijuana business. But things take a turn for the worse when he is captured by the authorities. Randy then is sent to jail, where he is forced to do manual labour and is electrocuted in the rain.
And most prominently, he gets ‘re-educated’ about his political beliefs. He reads aloud from a card that he is proud to be a member of the Communist Party. Also, in his prison cell, he meets Winnie the Pooh and Piglet. When he asks them why they are jailed like him, Pooh replies that it is illegal in China now.
This is a pointed mock at the 2017 incident where memes about Chinese president Xi Jinping started circulating. In the meme, Obama and Jinping were compared to Winnie the Pooh and Tigger. Since then, the infamous cartoon character was obliterated from the TV and the internet.
As you can imagine, the episode was not received kindly by the Chinese Communist Party. They have since blocked South Park wherever they can. Be it social media sites like Weibo or a film review site like Douban. Even the video sites such as Bilibili, Youku, and iQiyi do not have playable videos of the show.
On the most used search engine Baidu, you can still find information about South Park. However, there is a catch – the search engine displays only old news items. And guess what the top result for South Park is? An article condemning the show’s explicit content and its bad influence on youngsters.
In response to the ban, the show’s creators released an official apology. But it is far from a genuine apology and more of a mocking comment on the situation. They stated that they welcome the Chinese censors on their show, adding that the prize money over democracy and freedom of speech.
— South Park (@SouthPark) October 7, 2019
— South Park (@SouthPark) October 8, 2019
Sheesh!! It looks like China isn’t going to cross off South Park from the blacklist anytime soon now.