Headline RoundupFebruary 7th, 2023

Disney Cuts 'Simpsons' Episode in Hong Kong With 'Forced Labor Camps' Joke

AllSides Summary

 Disney removed an episode of "The Simpsons" from its streaming service in Hong Kong that jokes about China's "forced labor camps."

The Details: The episode features a scene at an exercise class with the Great Wall of China on the screen, in which the instructor says: "Behold the wonders of China. Bitcoin mines, forced labor camps where children make smartphones."

For Context: In 2020, China passed a national security law making dissent against the government punishable by a maximum sentence of life in prison. China has also come under fire over reports of forced labor camps and other abuses of the Uyghur Muslim minority in the Xinjiang region. Last year, the United Nations said it found evidence of serious human rights violations in Xinjiang, allegations that Beijing denies. In 2021, Disney also cut an episode of "The Simpsons" in Hong Kong that featured a joke about Tiananmen Square.

How the Media Covered It: The news was covered by sources across the spectrum. Many framed it as a concerning sign for basic freedoms in Hong Kong and China under the security law. Some right-rated sources framed Disney as having caved to China's censorship demands. A Newsmax report said that despite the removal, "Disney's relationship with the CCP appears to be improving as China has allowed more Disney productions in," including the recent live action remake of Disney's Mulan. Center- and right-rated sources focused more on reports of China's mistreatment of Uyghurs; left-rated sources focused less on those claims.

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