BEIJING – The creators of “South Park” have issued a mock apology to China after censors scrubbed their popular animation from the Chinese Web.
The tongue-in-cheek statement, skewering Beijing’s demands that Western brands conform to its world view, came with officials apparently annoyed about an episode that crossed several of the Communist Party’s red lines.
The episode – called “Band in China” – depicted forced labour at a Chinese prison, and parodied companies that cave in to censorship for commercial gain.
“I can’t sell my soul like this,” says one character, who was under pressure from Chinese censors to rewrite his music.
“It’s not worth living in a world where China controls my country’s art,” he added.
The incident comes as the NBA and its Houston Rockets franchise are facing fierce criticism and financial punishment in China over a tweet supporting Hong Kong’s democracy protesters.
Both the league and the team have scrambled to apologise over the tweet by Rockets’ general manager Daryl Morey, as calls for a boycott gather steam in one of the NBA’s most lucrative markets.