After 22 seasons of controversial content, South Park has finally crossed the line that got them banned from the Chinese Internet. Last week, the second episode aired of its 23rd season, titled “China Band,” in which Randy gets arrested for trying to sell weed in China. He is sent to a facility that resembles the Chinese “re-education camps” where over a million Uighur Muslims are currently detained. The South Park writers addressed the Chinese government’s rampant online censorship by having Randy encounter Winnie the Pooh at a work camp. Images of Winnie have been censored due to the comparisons made between the character and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
In response to “China Band,” the Chinese government, in a rather ironic move, has begun removing all traces of South Park from its Internet. Clips, episodes and online discussions of the Comedy Central show have been taken down. Searching “South Park” on social media site, Weibo, pulls up nothing and links to episode on streaming service, Youku, are dead.
On Monday afternoon, South Park creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, issued a snarky statement regarding China’s ban, in which they reference the Chinese Basketball Association recently severing ties with the Houston Rockets over a Daryl Morey tweet:
“Like the NBA, we welcome the Chinese censors into our homes and into our hearts,” the statement reads. “We too love money more than freedom and democracy. Xi doesn’t look like Winnie the Poo at all. Tune into our 300th episode the Wednesday at 10 p.m. Long live the great Communist Party of China. May the autumn’s sorghum harvest be bountiful. We good now China?”