South Park has been banned from China following the release of a critical episode. Created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the adult animated sitcom revolves around four grade-schoolboys - Kyle Broflovski, Eric Cartman, Stan Marsh, and Kenny McCormick. Riddled with dark humor, satire, and profanity, South Park remains one of Comedy Central’s highest-rated series.
Set in a fictional town in Colorado, South Park debuted in 1997. Currently airing season 23, the show sits between The Simpsons and Family Guy as the longest-running animated series. Recently, South Park was renewed for three more seasons. Helmed by Parker and Stone, South Park’s outrageous plots have demonstrated no religious group, politician or celebrity is off limits to its trademark satire. Last week, the release of South Park season 23, episode 2, “Band In China”, correlated with Beijing’s celebration of the 70th birthday of Communist China. Featuring two storylines, the episode follows Stan’s metal band as they are discovered by a Hollywood producer who wants to make a movie about them, but only if the film is palatable to Chinese censors. Meanwhile, Randy is caught attempting to sell weed in China and sent to a Chinese labor camp, encountering an imprisoned Winnie The Pooh. Due to the episode’s critique of the relationship between Hollywood and the Chinese government, South Park now finds itself in hot water with China.
According to Inkstone, all clips and videos from the episode have been scrubbed from online platforms in China. South Park has no official release in China, however, pirated versions have circulated among fans, Referencing several forbidden topics in the Chinese culture, such as the Dalai Lama, Winnie The Pooh and organ transplants, “Band in China” has been banned from the WeChat page specializing in South Park content, Twitter-like Weibo, streaming service Youku, and Reddit-like forum Baidu Tieba.
South Park’s latest episode was aptly timed in light of the controversy surrounding the NBA. Recently, Houston Rockets manager Daryl Morey expressed support for pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. Following statements from the Chinese government that China would condemn Rockets games and pull financial support, the NBA has since apologized. Parker and Stone are now following the NBA’s example, taking to Twitter to issue a mock apology of their own. Check out the tweet below:
South Park and its creative team show no signs of slowing down. Celebrating its 300th episode on October 9, South Park continues to garner solid ratings, and the newest episode will no doubt net a copious amount of views as it stands in a controversial spotlight. Legendary for tackling hot button topics, Parker and Stone could easily utilize the recent uproar as material for the outlandish citizens of South Park to explore in a future episode.