The creators of South Park have issued a mock apology to China after the comedy TV show was repeatedly censored in the country.
The move comes after an episode titled “Band in China”, which took aim at what the show portrayed as a habit of US culture to accommodate Chinese censorship laws and includes the lines: “it’s not worth living in a world where China controls my country’s art.”
The episode also shows character Randy Marsh attempting to expand his marijuana business, only to be arrested, sent to prison and subjected to forced labour and re-education.
He sees a guard shoot a prisoner in the head before he is sent to an overcrowded cell, where he encounters Winnie the Pooh and Piglet.
In 2018, pictures of Winne the Pooh were blocked in China after people began to compare him to the Chinese president, Xi Jinping.
“Some people say Pooh looks like the Chinese president, so we’re illegal in China now,” Piglet explains.
“What kind of madhouse is this?” asks Randy.
Since the episode aired in the US, searches for South Park on the Chinese website Weibo shows “no relevant results have been found”. The show has also been removed from various Chinese video websites including Youku, Bililbili and IQiyi.
In their “apology” for the episode, South Park‘s creators put a statement that was posted to Twitter with the headline: “Official apology to China from Trey Parker and Matt Stone,” and read: “Like the NBA, we welcome the Chinese censors into our homes and into our hearts.”
The NBA reference follows US basketball coach Daryl Morey backtracking after tweeting support for the protesters in Hong Kong.
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Morey’s tweet led to his team, the Houston Rockets, having their games pulled from Chinese TV, as well as Chinese sponsors withdrawing support.
The NBA said Morey’s comments were “regrettable”, while Rockets player James Harden said: “We apologise. We love China.”
The South Park statement continued: “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 this autumn’s sorghum harvest be bountiful! We good now China?”
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