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China’s Censorship Reach Hits Disney+ And The Simpsons

An episode of The Simpsons appears to have been removed from Disney+ in Hong Kong. The episode of the long-running hit sees the cartoon family visit Tiananmen Square in China, the site of the famous 1989 crackdown against masses protesting for democracy.

This comes at a time when Chinese authorities are cracking down on dissent in Hong Kong, after widespread pro-democracy protests there two years ago.

The missing episode – the 12th from the 16th season – was first broadcast in 2005, and sees the family come across a sign that insists “On this site, in 1989, nothing happened”. This is of course a reference to China’s ongoing efforts to brush the disturbance under the rug. The episode no longer shows up on the Disney+ menu, with episodes skipping from 11 to 13.

China’s censorship is becoming more regular in the international business hub, though until recently former British colony Hong Kong has received more political and artistic freedom of speech compared to the mainland.

New censorship laws have come into play in Hong Kong forbidding broadcasts that might breach a national security law China imposed there last year. This sees authorities ordered to cut offending scenes and refuse permission for some films to be shown publicly.

It’s not currently clear whether the Simpsons episode was ditched by Disney+ or if Chinese authorities ordered it be removed.



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