The Simpsons fans tuning in to watch the iconic animated series on Disney+ in Hong Kong have discovered that an episode featuring a scene in Tiananmen Square is missing from the streaming service. Disney+ launched in Hong Kong earlier this month and now fans of the long-running series have discovered that Season 16, Episode 12, “Goo Goo Gai Pan”, is absent from the platform, though per Deadline it’s not clear at this time if Disney+ removed the episode or if they were ordered to do so by Chinese authorities.
In the episode, The Simpsons family travels to China with plans to adopt a baby. During their time there, they visit Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. While visiting the site, The Simpsons find a sign that reads “On this site, in 1989, nothing happened”, a satirical reference to the June 4, 1989, pro-democracy student uprising which was put down with lethal force when the military opened fire on students and other demonstrators. The incident has been heavily censored in mainland China it is estimated that very few people in China know about the uprising, though activists in Hong Kong have kept the memory of the incident alive.
Hong Kong was a British colony until it was returned to Chinese rule in 1997 and in recent years has seen increased crackdowns from the mainland. Earlier this year, a new film censorship law was introduced forbidding shows and movies that might breach China’s national security law. Last week, Hong Kong’s Beijing-appointed leader, Carrie Lam, said she would “proactively plug loopholes” in Hong Kong’s internet. The censorship of The Simpsons by removing the episode from Disney+ in Hong Kong raises new concerns about that and censorship in the city.
While the removal of this specific episode of The Simpsons is the latest example of censorship concerns regarding foreign entertainment in China, it isn’t the only Disney-owned property that is potentially being impacted by the Chinese government. Both Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and Eternals have not received a theatrical release in the country due in part to past comments from Shang-Chi star Simu Liu and Eternals director Chloe Zhao, both of which were critical of China.
What do you think about The Simpsons being censored with the removal of an entire episode on Disney+ in Hong Kong? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.
from Ultimate Comic Blog