Often one for not caring about the irony of the situation, the Chinese government has banned South Park in China following an episode that critiqued the U.S. media’s acquiescence to Chinese media investors and censors.
The controversial episode "Band in China" follows Stan and the gang as they try to promote a band in China by making a biopic, only to be told they need to censor themselves to appeal to Chinese audiences if they want access to Chinese revenue streams.
The episode is also rife with criticism of Hollywood, depicting Randy Marsh on a plane full of Marvel characters owned by Disney. They are all on their way to do the exact same thing the boys are asked to do: prostrate themselves and accept Chinese censorship for money.
South Park now joins the likes of Winnie the Pooh, who was featured in the episode. Pooh Bear was also banned in China because the lovable children’s character was used as a facial comparison to mock Chinese President Xi Jinping. Pooh Bear, first seen in a Chinese prison, is assassinated later in the episode by Randy Marsh at the behest of China, after a student makes the comparison.
Following their ban, South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker made a mock apology, which was really a tongue and cheek rip on the NBA’s apology for offending the Chinese government and upsetting the international market.
Not strangers to controversy, the two creators are unlikely to ever seriously apologize to China, no matter how much money gets thrown at them to self-censor, unlike Hollywood and Disney who have been all too ready to kowtow in order to make more money.