After a controversial episode that criticized China’s censorship and detention of the minority Uighur ethnic group, South Park has reportedly been banned in the East Asian country, The Hill reports. Following the airing of the episode, Chinese authorities allegedly began deleting every episode and clip of the show from its highly-regulated internet.
The episode that sparked the ban is called “Band in China” and involves Randy Marsh being sent to a work camp for attempting to sell weed in the country. The camp echoed the “re-education” camps in the Xinjiang Province, where Muslim minorities are reportedly being held. At one point, Randy runs into an imprisoned Winnie the Pooh, which is a jab at the country’s censoring of the character due to frequent comparisons to the physical appearance of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
China’s imprisonment of Muslims is believed to be an effort to remove the culture and traditions of the Turkic Muslim ethnolinguistic group from the country. Approximately 1.5 million parents have reportedly been sent to the camps to purportedly undergo “vocational education” while their children are kept in orphanages and boarding schools. The duration and intensity of the programs varies, but in some cases, children are supposedly cut off from their parents. According to Adrian Zenz of the European School of Culture and Theology, the separation is part of a larger plan for “social re-engineering and cultural genocide in Xinjiang.”
Recently, China banned the Houston Rockets after General Manager Daryl Morey tweeted an image that read, “Fight For Freedom. Stand With Hong Kong.” Per USA Today, Morey later deleted the tweet, and Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta clarified that Morey’s comment does not represent the views of the company, which drew criticism from some that saw the remark as kowtowing to China and its alleged human rights abuses.
“Sorry the NBA is censoring you on behalf of China. Patriots stand with you!” conservative commentator Mike Cernovich tweeted to Morey.
Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang also weighed in on the situation and suggested that China’s decision was the wrong way to go.
“The Chinese government banning the Rockets is a terrible move,” he tweeted.
NBA statement on the Houston Rockets-China-Hong Kong situation… pic.twitter.com/kfJCmg0N62
— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) October 7, 2019
It’s unclear if the Rockets ban is permanent, but as of now, the Chinese Basketball Association has suspended ties, and Tencent Sports has suspended all livestreaming and news reporting on the team. The NBA has since issued a statement that it recognizes that Morey’s comments may have “deeply offended” some of its fans and friends in China, “which is regrettable.”