Disney pulls ‘Simpsons’ episode mocking Chinese censorship

Disney‘s Hong Kong subscribers will no longer be able to watch “The Simpsons” mock Chinese censorship of the Tiananmen Square massacre after the entertainment giant yanked the 2005 episode from the platform’s offerings there.

The Hollywood Reporter reported on Monday that the 16th season of Fox’s animated sitcom now jumps from episode 11 to 13 for viewers of the Disney+ streaming service in Hong Kong. Episode 12 depicts the Simpsons family journeying to China, where they encounter in Tiananmen Square a sign that reads: “On this site, in 1989, nothing happened.”

“It appears the episode has suffered precisely the kind of censorship it was written to ridicule,” Patrick Brzeski writes in the Hollywood Reporter article.

The communist government of mainland China continues to ban all political depictions of the 1989 massacre, a protest of pro-democracy students that the government suppressed with tanks.

While the laws governing digital content in Hong Kong remain less clear, pressure from Beijing last month resulted in a new batch of legislation nullifying the former British colony’s free speech protections.

One of the new laws bars films labeled contrary to Chinese national security from being screened or distributed in the city, which for many decades has maintained ties with Hollywood and a certain amount of creative independence due to its status at the center of the martial arts film industry.

The new law promises up to three years in jail and a $130,000 fine for anyone who exhibits an unauthorized film.

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