January 20, 2022

Image credit: Deadline

The Simpsons: Tiananmen episode not found in Hong Kong

The Simpsons episode on the Tiananmen Square tragedy is missing from Disney’s Hong Kong streaming service, according to reports.
Customers have discovered that episode 12 of season 16 is missing from Disney Plus, which was recently launched in the city. It comes as Hong Kong authorities crack down on the entertainment industry, banning films that breach the country’s rigorous national security laws. The lost episode has eluded Disney’s attention.
The cartoon family visits China in the episode “Goo Goo Gai Pan.”
They visit Tiananmen Square in Beijing, where a sign reads, “On this spot, nothing happened in 1989,” a reference to the censoring of the deadly crackdown on demonstrators there that year.
Soldiers killed many unarmed individuals while protesters demanded greater political freedom. Nobody knows exactly how many people were killed. The Chinese government announced in June 1989 that 200 people and a few dozen security officers had been killed. Various estimates have ranged from hundreds to tens of thousands of people.
The Simpsons also visit the embalmed body of former Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong, whom Homer describes as a tiny angel who killed 50 million people in another segment of the episode.
Mao oversaw China’s Cultural Revolution as well as a massive famine that killed millions of people. It’s unclear why the episode isn’t available on the streaming site or who decided not to include it.
Authorities in Hong Kong have cracked down on dissent since the passage of the national security bill last year. The law, which was passed following massive pro-democracy protests in 2019, makes secession, subversion, terrorism, and coordination with foreign forces illegal. Hong Kong’s legislature established a new rule last month prohibiting films that harm China’s national security interests.
Self-censorship has been recognised by Hong Kong book publishers, and the country’s main pro-democracy newspaper, Apple Daily, was shut down earlier this year during a national security inquiry. Meanwhile, many members of the opposition are already imprisoned or exiled.