Disney cuts ‘Simpsons’ episode from Hong Kong streaming service
Disney cut an episode of The Simpsons The cartoon refers to “forced labor camps” in China from its streaming platform in Hong Kong.
The episode, which first aired last October during the show’s latest season, was not available on the Disney Plus streaming platform in Hong Kong, the Financial Times has learned.
This seems to be the second time an episode on the show has been produced by Disney-The 20th TV animation by ownership, has been dropped from the streaming platform.
A previous episode of The Simpsons involved in the 1989 Tiananmen massacre was removed from service in 2021.
Beijing imposed sweeping national security laws on the city in 2020, banning broadly defined crimes including secession and subversion as part of the policy. widespread repression of its political opposition and civil society.
Latest Simpsons The episode, titled “One Angry Lisa,” features Marge Simpson taking a virtual cycling class and the instructor, looking through images of the Great Wall of China, says: “Watch the wonders magic of China. Bitcoin mines, forced labor camps where children make smartphones.”
China has faced allegations of abuse including forced labor against Uighurs and other predominantly Muslim minorities at mass detention centers in the western Xinjiang region. northwest.
A UN report last year accuses Beijing of “serious human rights violations” may constitute a “crime against humanity”. Beijing denies allegations of human rights abuses in Xinjiang.
Kenny Ng, an associate professor at the Film Academy at Hong Kong Baptist University who specializes in censorship, said Disney may have actively removed the episode out of concern for its business in Greater China. continent, including amusement parks.
The move is “more about the company’s relationships, present and future, in mainland China,” Ng said. “It could be a strategy to remove any stage of Chinese insults.”
In response to a request for comment, the Hong Kong government said the film censorship regime introduced in 2021, which bans movies that endanger national security, “does not apply to streaming services”. The spokesperson did not comment on whether the government has approached Disney to remove the episode. Disney declined to comment.
This month, Disney will show two Marvel movies in China, is the first product approved for distribution in the mainland market since 2019.
The company was accused of self-censorship in 2021 when an episode from The Simpsonssatirizes Beijing’s repression of the 1989 Tiananmen massacre, disappeared from its Disney Plus streaming platform in Hong Kong.
The episode, which first aired in 2005, is about a visit to Tiananmen Square, where a large sign reads: “At this location, in 1989, nothing happened.” Homer Simpson also called former Chinese Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong a “little angel” who killed millions.
Disney was also criticized in 2020 for filming $200 million worth of scenes live-action remake of Magnolia Flower in Xinjiang.