Disney blocks ‘Simpsons’ episode critical of China from streaming in Hong Kong

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Disney has blocked a recent episode of “The Simpsons” that was critical of China from its streaming platform in Hong Kong, according to multiple reports.

In the episode, which aired in October, Marge Simpson gets a new exercise bike and goes on a virtual bike tour in China.

“Behold the wonders of China. Bitcoin mines, forced labor camps where children make smartphones,” the instructor says during the tour.

The mention of “forced labor camps” appears to be a reference to China’s detainment and abuse of millions of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang. The Biden administration declared China’s treatment of the predominately Muslim Uyghurs a genocide in March 2021.

Disney reportedly made the decision to nix the episode from Disney+ in Hong Kong amid concerns that it would violate a 2020 national security law that gave Beijing increased powers over the territory and largely restricted free speech, according to Axios.

As a special administrative region of China, Hong Kong has maintained some autonomy from the mainland government over the last two decades. However, China has increasingly sought to tighten its grip.

Disney previously pulled an episode of “The Simpsons” from its streaming platform in Hong Kong in 2021, according to Insider. The episode from 2005, in which the Simpson family travels to China, was critical of former Chinese leader Mao Zedong and the Chinese government’s response to the Tiananmen Square protests.

—Updated at 6:24 p.m.

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