An episode of the Simpsons series showing the family visit to Beijing’s iconic Tiananmen Square has suddenly disappeared from Disney’s Hong Kong streaming service, which confirms escalating censorship on the island.
As reported by The Guardian on Monday, Nov. 29, Disney + Hong Kong was launched this month and customers noticed that episode 12 of season 16 had been removed, This episode refers to the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, an event that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is trying to erase from history.
The 2005 episode called “Goo Goo Gai Pain” shows the Simpsons family traveling to China, where Marge’s sister, Selma, is trying to adopt a baby.
During a trip to Beijing they visit Tiananmen Square, and the animated scene shows a sign that reads, “Tiananmen Square: On This Site, In 1989, Nothing Happened,” as a way to emphasize China’s censorship of what happened.
The Tiananmen Massacre occurred on June 4, 1989, putting an end to months of student-led demonstrations in China. It is estimated that hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people were killed when the People’s Liberation Army was deployed to suppress protesters in Beijing.
In addition, the episode includes scenes in which the family visits the tomb of former regime leader Mao Zedong, sarcastically described by Homer “like a little angel that killed 50 million people.”
This is one more case that proves the systematic blockade recently introduced to the film industry and on any broadcast that, according to the criteria established by the Chinese regime, violates the National Security Law it imposed in 2020.
Those who dare to disobey the totalitarian rules and hold unauthorized screenings on the island could face anything from a fine of 1 million Hong Kong dollars, (approx. 129 thousands US dollars) to a jail sentence, under accusation of hawking “subversion, secession and terrorism.”
“Apparent voluntary removal of the episode in Hong Kong — especially when done by a major U.S. media company — is a relatively new feature of civic life there,” the Hollywood Reporter wrote in its report on the cutting of the Simpsons episode.
Meanwhile Grace Leung, a media expert at the Chinese University of Hong Kong assured the New York Times that Disney “sent out a clear signal to the local audience that it will remove controversial programs in order to please” the CCP.
If these removals continue on the island, Hong Kong viewers will experience ‘the Disney story’ as Disney and the Chinese regime sees fit.
Hong Kong Free Press noted that the episode is still accessible using VPN circumvention tools to access Disney online.