In the 2005 episode “Goo Goo Gai Pan,” the family travels to China to adopt a baby. The Simpsons clan stops in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square
where they find a sign that says, “On this site, in 1989, nothing happened,” a biting joke about the 1989 event where pro-democracy protestors gathered for several months.
The erasure is yet another time the Simpsons predicted the future
According to multiple reports, that 12th episode of season 16 of “The Simpsons” is not available in the Disney+ lineup for customers in Hong Kong.
Neither Disney (DIS)
nor China responded to CNN Business’ request for comment about why the episode is unavailable. It’s unclear if China is blocking the episode in question or if Disney has chosen not to air the episode there.
Hong Kong’s communications authority said in a statement to the New York Times
that its recently enacted censorship ordinance
applies to movies and not streaming services, like Disney+.
China has regularly censored media, and companies that operate within the country are forced to censor search results for Chinese users — particularly images and information about the Tiananmen Square protests and the killings that ensued.
The Chinese government has worked hard to restrict images
and reports of the 1989 event, considering it a threat to the legitimacy of its continued one-party rule.
Hundreds of people were killed on June 4, 1989, in Tiananmen Square. The massacre made headlines around the world — as did iconic images such as “Tank Man” defying the troops on the square.
Hong Kong historically has had more artistic freedom than mainland China. In recent years, China has cracked down on content under a 2020 National Security Law
that criminalized acts of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces to endanger national security.