South Park China Problem Shrugged Off by Creators

author img
BY October 9, 2019

What a time to be alive. In just a few days, China has picked fights with a long-running animated TV show and an entire professional athletic organization. The NBA and South Park are both feuding with China over the current situation in Hong Kong. There’s a lot to go over, but before we get to the South Park China problem and the NBA’s PR crisis, we have to briefly overview what’s happening in Hong Kong. 

The NBA and South Park China Problem – Why Are Tensions High?

Hong Kong is currently in a state of chaos as it protests and clashes with the People’s Republic of China. Hong Kong is in a complicated set-up with China. You may hear the “One Party, Two Systems” phrase thrown around. Hong Kong is a special region of China, but is available to operate as a democracy. Given China’s strict control over its economic and political dealings, the flexibility with Hong Kong is quite remarkable. The problem now is that the flexibility is wearing thin. 

Hong Kong is an economic powerhouse that benefits from being closely connected with China. In 2014, after years of Beijing trying to limit dissent from Hong Kong, protesters known now as the Umbrella Movement took to the streets arguing that China needed to take a step back. Beijing officials started looking into elections in Hong Kong for possible problematic politicians, and even intervening in court proceedings. That’s a big no. A number of other incidents created a hostile relationship between the two regions, but right now, things are rougher than ever. 

Current Protests in Hong Kong

The latest turmoil sprang from Beijing pushing for extraditions to mainland China from Hong Kong residents. Lawmakers in the PRC threw that idea out amid protests, but the spark gave rise to more calls for change. Most notably, police violence and electoral reform are being demanded by the Hong Kong protests; things that they believe are not new ideas but simply reinforcements of the “One country, Two Systems” agreement.

south park china problem new episode thor disney Image Credit: Comedy Central

How is South Park Involved with the China Problem?

A recent South Park episode titled “Band in China” targeted Hollywood for catering its content to Chinese interests. These efforts include painting China as a strong ally, showing them as the good guys that save the day when faced with an international crisis, and other pandering elements injected into popular entertainment. China doesn’t respond well to criticism of its internal affairs. It argues that a China problem is its own dealings, while foreign affairs are not a China problem no matter who believes it is

Following the release of the episode, China banned South Park from its web and television streaming services. In response, Trey Parker and Matt Stone released this sarcastic apology:

“Like the NBA, we welcome the Chinese censors into our homes and into our hearts,” the statement reads. “We too love money more than freedom and democracy. Xi doesn’t look like Winnie the Pooh at all. Tune into our 300th episode this Wednesday at 10! Long live the great Communist Party of China. May the autumn’s sorghum harvest be bountiful. We good now China?”

south park china problem nba

How is the NBA Involved in the South Park China Problem?

The NBA reference comes from another controversy surrounding Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey. The owner tweeted support for the freedom and rights of Hong Kong’s citizens, sparking China to remove NBA games from CCTV, China’s largest state-run television station. This is a huge money maker for the NBA, as China is the largest international population of NBA viewers outside the United States. 

The Chinese Basketball Association regularly works and partners with the NBA, and is now reviewing any further work together. In another weird turn of events, the current CBA president is actually Rockets legend Yao Ming, the first superstar NBA player to come from China. A lot of money is at stake for the NBA, but what’s the cost of free speech? 

Adam Silver, the current NBA commissioner, surprisingly supported Morey in a statement, making the careful comment that any sort of China problem is not the NBA’s concern as it pertains to policing discourse. Between the NBA, South Park, and the outpouring of support from social media, China is in a rough spot. They won’t budge, naturally. The bigger problem is a public display of just how influential China is to many American businesses and corporations. 

Why the China Problem Matters to the Entertainment Industry

The funny part of the NBA and South Park China problem is just how on the nose the show is about the current situation. ESPN, owned by Disney, released an internal memo stating nobody could talk about the China problem on air. Disney has a lot of money in China, including everything from markets for its films, merchandise, and other business dealings. It’s exciting to get hyped over Disney+ and other things the media titan is working on. At the same time, we have to remember they’re still a business. The streaming wars means great content for us, but also problematic moments like this where the rights of Americans and other people around the world are exposed as second to financial gain and economic sustainability. 

If you’re wondering what all this means, or what you can do, the answer is nothing. We’re in an age of larger than life media conglomerates trying to make as much money as they possibly can. There are some major concerns regarding the amount of companies under the Disney umbrella now. Everyone can decide how much they want it to affect their entertainment behaviors, but it all leaves a bad taste in my mouth. 

Comic Years is the go-to place for pop culture, gaming, and comic book news! We love to hear from you in the comments, so share what you think of this story below!

Featured Image Credit: Comedy Central

Pop CultureTV Shows

Leave a comment

Related

TV Shows
The Mandalorian Series Premiere Ushers In a Bold New Era of Star Wars

About six hours before it was supposed to go live, Disney+ opened up to US users. This included the series premiere of The Mandalorian. The first-ever live-action television series set in the Star Wars universe, it simultaneously offers up an entirely new story but lots of familiar imagery. The larger arc of The Mandalorian gets […]

BY Joshua M. Patton November 12, 2019
MoviesPop CultureTV Shows
Machete, The Flash Star Danny Trejo Rescued a Child with Special Needs from Car Accident

Most of us recognize Danny Trejo’s face from countless appearances in television series and films, but one family will remember him as their hero. This week, Danny Trejo rescued a special-needs child after a horrific car crash in Los Angeles. The 75-year-old actor, perhaps best known for playing villains, performed a genuine act of heroism, […]

BY Joshua M. Patton August 11, 2019
DCTV Shows
Titans Season 2 Full Trailer Hints at a Major Titan Death (But Not the One You Think)

With the second season of DC Universe’s flagship original series set to premiere next week, the streaming service released a new preview. The Titans Season 2 full trailer focus less on the action and adventure found in the teaser trailer and more on the emotional states of the characters. For fans who pay close attention, […]

BY Joshua M. Patton August 28, 2019
Google Stadia Launch is Missing Key, Promised Features

So here’s the thing; it’s easy to get excited about an idea. Something like 4K game streaming, top titles and developers on board, and a new way to play sounds great. The Google Stadia launch is fast approaching, and a recent Reddit AMA about the console raises major concerns about the state in which this […]

BY Taylor Bauer November 14, 2019
Best Exclusive Sony Series of All Time

It goes without saying that Sony wins this round of the Console Wars. While some people hate to think of gaming, as a war, it sort of is. Most gamers are going to buy one console, meaning each major company does what it can to influence consumers to buy their brand. With insane exclusives and […]

BY Taylor Bauer November 13, 2019
Pokemon Hashtag Goes Viral – #ThankYouGameFreak

It’s been a tumultuous built up to Pokemon Sword and Shield. Because of the game’s limited Pokemon roster, hundreds of characters won’t be playable in the new games. Fans are fairly upset, and in a way, they have a right to be. It’s the first time that you won’t be able to transfer Pokemon from […]

BY Taylor Bauer November 11, 2019
EA Renews Skate Trademark, But No New Game Likely

People got really deflated and then somewhat excited about a trademark this morning. One of EA’s most dedicated fan-bases are obsessed with the Skate games. There hasn’t been a new game for 10 years, but it’s not something we can rule out. When you read that EA renews Skate trademark, it’s easy to get excited, […]

BY Taylor Bauer November 8, 2019

Trending

Google Stadia Launch is Missing Key, Promised Features

So here’s the thing; it’s easy to get excited about an idea. Something like 4K game streaming, top titles and developers on board, and a new way to play sounds great. The Google Stadia launch is fast approaching, and a recent Reddit AMA about the console raises major concerns about the state in which this […]

BY Taylor Bauer November 14, 2019
The Top 10 Fantasy Series Published In The Past Decade

The end of the decade is rapidly approaching. The 2010’s were good for sci-fi & fantasy fans as shows like Game of Thrones, and huge movie franchises like the Marvel Cinematic Universe brought genre into the mainstream. The decade was great for books as well, with several huge epics finally reaching their conclusions (Wheel of Time). […]

BY Emily O'Donnell November 14, 2019
Netflix Orders A Second Season for The Witcher Ahead Of Premiere

One month until the premiere of The Witcher series on Netflix, and a second season has already been ordered. Showrunner Lauren Hissrich announced the news today via Twitter.  I’m so thrilled to announce: Geralt, Yennefer, and Ciri will be back for more adventures… in Season Two. I could not be more proud of what the […]

BY Emily O'Donnell November 14, 2019
Netflix and Nickelodeon To Collaborate With Multi-Year Deal

Hot off the trails of Disney+’s massive release, Netflix has added an exciting announcement for its subscribers. Netflix will be collaborating with Nickelodeon on a multi-year deal, working to produce original animated content. This will include films and television series, featuring old, beloved Nickelodeon characters, as well as completely new content. What This Nickelodeon Deal […]

BY Meghan Hale November 14, 2019