Disney+ reportedly scrubbed an episode of “The Simpsons” from its launch in Hong Kong to appease Communist China’s censorship of pro-democracy content.
The episode in question, “Goo Goo Gai Pan,” depicts Homer Simpson and his family traveling to China to adopt a baby for his sister-in-law and visiting various tourist sites in the country, including the remains of Mao Zedong. At one point, the family not only strolls past a row of tanks similar to those stared down by a pro-democracy protester in 1989 in China’s infamous Tiananmen Square, but one character reads a sign that mocks the communist regime’s censorship of the Tiananmen Square massacre.
“Tien An Men Square: On this site, in 1989, nothing happened,” the sign states.
The episode first aired in 2005 as part of the Fox show’s 16th season, but thanks to the Walt Disney Company’s streaming service, users in Hong Kong will not have viewing access to the Simpsons’ trip to China unless they have a virtual private network that shields their location.
Disney’s decision comes on the heels of a strict censorship law enacted by the Hong Kong legislature that bans TV and film content that the communist regime finds objectionable to its “national security interests.” After facing pressure under Beijing’s radical national security laws — which have placed more than 150 people, including pro-democracy protesters and journalists, at the mercy of the communist regime — the Hong Kong legislature caved to the communist leaders’ demands that any pro-democracy or China-critical content in Hong Kong must be weeded out and/or punished.
Hong Kong has long been considered one of the only places in China that could learn about and observe the anniversary of the peaceful protest in Tiananmen Square that turned into a communist-led bloodbath, but as the mainland regime’s grip on Hong Kong is tightening, citizens risk losing part of their history that “has already been erased from government-sanctioned history books.”