The Simpsons’ episode censored in Hong Kong

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Nov. 29 (UPI) — A 2005 episode of The Simpsons that mocked Chinese censorship appears to have been censored in Hong Kong.

The iconic animated series, which has been on the air for a quarter-century has not been shy about tackling sensitive subjects, but the episode, titled Goo Goo Gai Pan, may have been too much for Chinese media watchdogs.

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The episode, in which the Simpsons travel to China to adopt a baby, shows the family stopping at Tiananmen Square, where hundreds of Chinese residents were killed and injured during pro-Democracy demonstrations in 1989.

The Simpsons find a sign that said, “On this site, in 1989, nothing happened,” a joke squarely pointing to how Chinese officials have tried to censor all photos and information on the deadly protests.

In another part of the episode, the Simpsons visited the embalmed body of Chinese Communist Party founder Mao Zedong, and Homer Simpson quipped, “A little angel that killed 50 million people.”

When the streaming service Disney+ launched in Hong Kong this month, the episode, which is the 12th episode in Season 16 of The Simpsons, was not available, according to Bloomberg.

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“[This is the] first notable time an American streaming giant has censored content in Hong Kong,” Kenny Ng, an associate professor at Hong Kong Baptist University, told Bloomberg. “Basically, the whole story is for streaming companies to be more tailored to a Chinese audience and to not offend the Chinese government.”

The missing episode highlights growing censorship concerns in Hong Kong since the Chinese government’s national security law was imposed last year after it brutally shut down anti-government protests that had lasted months.

Until then, Hong Kong, a former British colony, had enjoyed greater civil and social liberties not seen in the rest of the country since regaining control in 1997. The Chinese had promised such liberties would remain in place for 50 years after the takeover.