The most recent episode of "South Park," called "Band in China," mocked Hollywood's submission to the country. Now the long-running Comedy Central animated series has seemingly been banned in China itself.
Episodes, clips, and online discussions of the show have been removed from the Chinese internet, according to The Hollywood Reporter. THR reviewed the Chinese social network Weibo and found zero mention of the series; clips and episodes on Chinese streamer Youku didn't work; and "South Park" discussion forums on Tieba had been closed.
"According to the relevant law and regulation, this section is temporarily not open," a note on the platform says when you search for a "South Park" discussion thread, according to THR.
In the episode, Hollywood wants to make a biopic of Stan Marsh's band, but must alter the movie to fit China's regulations. Meanwhile, Stan's dad, Randy, attempts to sell marijuana in the country after people in South Park stop buying his and start growing their own.
China is currently the second-largest theatrical market in the world and Hollywood has increasingly relied on the country's box office to give potential blockbusters a boost. A report from Ampere Analysis last year predicted that China would surpass the US as the world's box office leader by 2022.
The "South Park" episode is heavily critical of China's censorship and references the country's crackdown on Winnie the Pooh imagery. After China's ruling Communist Party announced it wanted to eliminate presidential term limits last year, photos comparing its leader Xi Jinping to Pooh popped up online.
Disney's "Christopher Robin," a live-action take on the Winnie the Pooh characters, was not released in China last year because the character was such a symbol of resistance, according to THR.
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