Today the score stands China 1, South Park 1, but the creators of the hit animated satire are getting ready to bat again.
On Monday, Chinese censors erased, deleted and purged every clip, episode and online discussion of the show from the country’s streaming services and social media outposts. The move was a response to the most recent episode of the Comedy Central series, "Band in China," which mocked Hollywood for its tendency to shape content to avoid offending China and its censors.
Hours after the "South Park" scrubbing, the show's creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, issued a statement with a faux apology about the ban — and a possible warning.
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 like Winnie the Pooh at all. Tune into our 300th episode this Wednesday at 10! Long live the great Communist Party of China. May the autumn's sorghum harvest be bountiful. We good now China?
The reference to the NBA is the imbroglio that followed a tweet over the weekend by Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey that showed support for Hong Kong anti-government protests. Several companies in China, including some of the NBA's major business partners there, lashed out at the league over Morey's tweet. In addition, games featuring the Houston Rockets will be banned on Chinese television.
“South Park” is no stranger to international controversy. In a 2009 episode entitled "Pinewood Derby" Mexican President Felipe Calderón was one of several world leaders depicted in failing to successfully deal with an international crisis. MTV withdrew the episode in Mexico, causing outrage amongst fans of the show south of the border charging censorship. MTV denied this, claiming they had failed to get permission to show the Mexican flag on TV. A year later several parts of a “South Park” video game were censored in Europe and Australia.