Simpsons ‘Tiananmen’ episode missing from Disney+ streaming package in Hong Kong, reports say

The 1989 massacre remains a sensitive subject for China’s authoritarian leadership

Sam Moore
Tuesday 30 November 2021 08:34
The Simpsons spoof Game of Thrones

An episode of The Simpsons referencing the Tiananmen Square massacre is reportedly missing from Hong Kong’s version of Disney Plus.

According to The Guardian, season 16 episode “Goo Goo Gai Pan” cannot be viewed by subscribers in the region, prompting accusations of state censorship. It is not clear if Disney chose to remove the episode or was forced to.

The episode in question sees Homer and family go to China and visit Tiananmen Square, where they see a sign that says: “On this site, in 1989, nothing happened,” which makes reference to the violent crackdown against protesters at the site and also the Chinese government’s efforts to play down the incident.

The episode is reportedly the only one that users are not able to watch.

Estimates of those killed during the crushing of the student-led pro-democracy demonstrations in June 1989 range from hundreds to thousands. Many more were arrested and imprisoned. The crackdown remains a sensitive subject for China’s authoritarian leadership.

Other shows that depict China in a controversial fashion are still available in the region, most notably South Park which has satirised censorship in the country and the use of labour camps.

Earlier this year, China forbade the broadcast of television shows and films that it said could breach national security. As a result of the new laws, some films have been banned from being shown to the public.

Image of a student standing in front of a line of tanks became a symbol of protesters’ courage during the Tiananmen crackdown in 1989

Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam, who is appointed by the Chinese government, has previously vowed to “proactively plug loopholes” regarding the internet.

The Independent has contacted Disney for comment.

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