Randy (left, with moustache) making toys in a Chinese prison

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South Park / Comedy Central

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Randy (left, with moustache) making toys in a Chinese language jail

The makers of US TV comedy South Park have issued a mock apology to China after the present was made largely unavailable within the nation.

In a latest episode, the character Randy is subjected to compelled labour and Communist Social gathering re-education after being jailed throughout a go to to China.

Most South Park episodes and opinions at the moment are unavailable on-line in China.

“We welcome the Chinese language censors into our houses and hearts,” the apology mentioned. “Lengthy reside the Communist Social gathering!”

What occurs within the episode?

In “Band in China”, Randy Marsh travels to China to attempt to broaden his marijuana enterprise.

He’s arrested, despatched to jail, and subjected to compelled labour and re-education.

In a single scene, Randy is seen standing within the rain whereas a guard offers him an electrical shock.

“I’m a proud member of the Communist Social gathering,” Randy then reads from a card. “The occasion is extra essential than the person.”

He then sees a guard shoot a prisoner within the head, earlier than being despatched to an overcrowded cell the place he begins a dialog with Winnie the Pooh and Piglet.

In 2017, photos of Winnie the Pooh have been blocked in China as a result of folks in contrast him to the Chinese language president, Xi Jinping.

“Some folks mentioned Pooh appeared just like the Chinese language president, so we’re unlawful in China now,” says Piglet.

“What sort of madhouse is that this?” replies Randy.

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This meme displaying Xi Jinping and former US President Barack Obama started circulating in 2013

What was the response in China?

Because the episode was proven within the US final week, looking for “South Park” on the Chinese language social media website Weibo reveals “no related outcomes have been discovered”.

The present has been faraway from China’s numerous video web sites, together with Bilibili, iQiyi, Youku and le.com. Though some searches present a quick introduction, they are not playable.

On Douban, a well-known movie evaluate web site in China, search outcomes present that “in accordance with related legal guidelines, laws and insurance policies, search outcomes will not be displayed”.

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On China’s standard search engine Baidu, “South Park” nonetheless returns outcomes – however many of the entries are outdated information. The highest-ranked end result criticises the present for its unfavourable influence on youngsters.

Some folks have gotten across the ban by utilizing “S23E02” (Season 23, Episode 2) to debate the present on Weibo.

How did South Park’s makers reply?

On Twitter, the present’s writers Trey Parker and Matt Stone issued an “official apology to China”.

“Just like the NBA [National Basketball Association], we welcome the Chinese language censors into our houses and into our hearts,” it mentioned.

“We too love cash greater than freedom and democracy. Xi does not look similar to Winnie the Pooh in any respect.

“Lengthy reside the Nice Communist Social gathering of China! Could this autumn’s sorghum [a cereal crop] harvest be bountiful! We good now China?”

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The NBA reference follows US basketball coach Daryl Morey backtracking after tweeting help for the Hong Kong protesters.

Mr Morey’s tweet led to his group, the Houston Rockets, having their video games pulled from Chinese language TV, in addition to Chinese language sponsors withdrawing help.

The NBA mentioned Mr Morey’s feedback have been “regrettable”, whereas Rockets participant James Harden mentioned: “We apologise. We love China.”

Mr Morey later mentioned: “I’ve had lots of alternative since that tweet to listen to and contemplate different views.”

How a lot does China censor?

Twitter and Fb will not be accessible to most customers, Google is blocked, whereas in Could, Wikipedia introduced all variations of its website have been additionally unavailable.

China’s web operates one thing like an intranet the place solely data deemed acceptable is freely accessible – also known as the Nice Firewall of China.

Chinese language newspapers and TV are underneath Communist Social gathering management, whereas sure phrases and phrases are censored on Chinese language social media.

Stories from the Hong Kong protests have been restricted, whereas folks could be banned for discussing delicate points.

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“A pal of mine simply obtained his WeChat [a Chinese messaging platform] account blocked for 3 days after he had a dialog along with his pal speaking about China’s authorized system, and reform of the authorized system,” Chinese language journalist Karoline Kan advised the BBC in September.

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Media captionJournalist Karoline Kan explains how Chinese language social media is censored.