Bowing before the Chinese communist government, Disney has dropped an episode of “The Simpsons” called “One Angry Lisa” from its Disney+ streaming platform in Hong Kong which aired in October 2022 because it referred to “forced labor camps” in China.
In the episode, an instructor in Marge Simpson’s virtual cycling class states, “Behold the wonders of China. Bitcoin mines, forced labor camps where children make smartphones, and romance.” Another episode from 2005 that mentioned the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre and the Chinese government’s efforts to suppress media coverage of it was nixed by Disney in 2021. In that episode, the Simpsons family visiting the Chinese capital comes across a sign in the square that says, “On this site, in 1989, nothing happened.”
According to the Daily Wire, Kenny Ng, an associate professor at the Academy of Film at Hong Kong Baptist University, claims that dropping the episode had “more to do with the company’s ties, current and future, in mainland China. It could be strategic to eliminate any China-offending episodes.”
The Financial Times reported that the Hong Kong government, in response to the issue, asserted that its recent film censorship actions that were enacted in 2021 to prevent films from posing a risk to national security, “does not apply to streaming services.” That certainly doesn’t seem to be the case here with the “Simpsons” episode.
Disney+ removed an episode of Simpson (again) in Hong Kong due to reference of China’s forced labor camp. This is what you’ve missed. pic.twitter.com/zdEihr4LuR
— Asian American Conservative (@FactcheckingCon) February 7, 2023
Hong Kong was previously a British colony. It was gifted to the Chinese in 1997. In 2022, China declared full communist control of Hong Kong.
Disney CEO Bob Iger admitted in October 2019 while speaking at the WSJ Tech Live conference that Disney would stay silent regarding the Hong Kong pro-democracy protests that were taking place at the time.
“What we learned in the last week — we’ve learned how complicated this is,” Iger claimed according to Bloomberg. “The biggest learning from that is that caution is imperative. To take a position that could harm our company in some form would be a big mistake. I just don’t believe it’s something we should engage in in a public manner.”
#China doesn't need to 'tell' #Disney to bump off a Simpson's episode critical of their favorite child labor practices. The Mouse will do Beijing's bidding without being asked because it really wants to keep vacuuming up that Chi-Com money.
— Mike Glenn (@mrglenn) February 7, 2023
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) slammed Iger for caving to the communists, “‘Sell your soul to save your profits’ is going to be a helluva plot line for ‘Frozen 2.’ There are about a million Uyghurs in Chinese communist prisons who aren’t going to be visiting the Magic Kingdom anytime soon.”
Shanghai Disney Resort opened in 2016, costing $5.5 billion. During the opening, Iger proclaimed in Mandarin, “Our dream comes true,” according to The New York Times.
Liu Yifei, who is the star of Disney’s live-action “Mulan,” triggered an anti-Mulan boycott after she expressed support for the Hong Kong police force violently putting down the pro-democracy protests. She declared on the Chinese social media platform Weibo, “I support the Hong Kong police. You can all attack me now. What a shame for Hong Kong.”
“This film is released today. But because Disney kowtows to Beijing, and because Liu Yifei openly and proudly endorses police brutality in Hong Kong, I urge everyone who believes in human rights to #BoycottMulan,” Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong tweeted.
In 2021, the United States barred all imports from the Xinjiang region in China, where the US State Department has estimated that up to two million Uyghurs and members of other ethnic groups have been imprisoned in a network of internment camps. Former detainees have alleged they were subjected to intense political indoctrination, forced labor, torture, and sexual abuse.
China has fiercely denied committing human rights violations in Xinjiang. It has previously said it established such centers as a way to counter “extremism” in the region.
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