Friday, March 24, 2023

The Simpsons episode withdrawn in Hong Kong

HONG KONG ( Associated Press) – The Walt Disney Co. has pulled an episode of the animated series The Simpsons from its Hong Kong streaming service that included a reference to “forced labor camps” in China.

The company declined to comment on why The Simpsons’ 34th season episode “One Angry Lisa” cannot be viewed on the Disney+ service in the semi-autonomous Chinese region, according to reviews by The Associated Press.

The episode first aired on television in October and it was unclear when it was taken off the streaming service in Hong Kong.

In the episode, Marge Simpson’s character takes a virtual stationary bike class with an instructor against the virtual backdrop of the Great Wall of China, saying, “Behind the wonders of China, bitcoin mines, labor camps where kids make smartphones.” “

The issue of forced labor is a sensitive one in China. In addition, the communist government in Beijing has increasingly exerted control over Hong Kong, a former British colony whose government took power in 1997.

China promised that Hong Kong would retain its Western-style freedoms for 50 years following the succession of British rule. But Beijing has tightened its grip by imposing a national security law after mass pro-democracy protests in 2019, raising fears of curtailing civil rights such as freedom of speech and the press.

Under the National Security Act, those found guilty of secession, subversion, terrorism and conspiring with foreign or external forces can be sentenced to life imprisonment.

In 2021, Hong Kong implemented a film censorship law that allows authorities to ban films deemed to be contrary to national security interests. At that time, the authorities had said that regulating films shown on the Internet would be beyond the reach of the law.

For years, Western governments and activists have accused China of imprisoning hundreds of thousands of ethnic minorities, mainly Uighurs, in detention camps in the western region of Xinjiang. China has denied allegations that it employs forced labor in those camps.

Chinese officials say the camps are educational centers designed to teach Mandarin Chinese and business tools.

Censorship of Western series and movies is common in mainland China. Censors remove scenes or restrict content deemed to be contrary to the values ​​promoted by the Chinese Communist Party.

The Simpsons has been reviewed several times in China. According to an Associated Press inspection, clips of The Simpsons are still available on Chinese video sites, but not the “One Angry Lisa” scene.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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