‘The Simpsons’ censored in Hong Kong with Tiananmen Square episode removed from Disney+

The episode referred to the 1989 massacre and Mao Zedong

Disney+ appears to have censored an episode of The Simpsons in Hong Kong that refers to the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.

Following the launch of the streaming platform in the territory this month, the 12th episode of season 16, titled ‘Goo Goo Gai Pan’, is not available in Hong Kong, according to The Guardian.

The storyline sees Selma and the family travel to China to adopt a baby, and in one scene they visit the famous Beijing square. There, a sign reads: “On this site, in 1989, nothing happened,” before they are confronted by a tank – a reference to the famous video of the Tank Man during the massacre.

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In the episode, the family also visit the mummified remains of Mao Zedong, with Homer referring to the former Chinese leader as a “little angel who killed 50 million people”.

'The Simpsons' Tiananmen Square episode
‘The Simpsons’ visit Tiananmen Square. CREDIT: Fox/Disney+

The Guardian reports that when checked on Monday (November 29), season 16 episodes 11 and 13 were available, but not 12. It is also unclear whether Disney removed the episode of their own accord, or was ordered to by the authorities.

Hong Kong introduced new censorship laws this year that ban broadcasts that go against a national security law imposed by China.

However, there is still content available from other platforms that satirise China, such as  South Park episode ‘Band In China’ on Netflix, which references Chinese labour camps and American brands adhering to censorship rules.

Smithers The Simpsons
Smithers finds love in ‘Portrait Of A Lackey On Fire’ CREDIT: 20th Television

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Meanwhile, The Simpsons recently aired a gay love story for Waylon Smithers on the show, which saw the character fall in love with fashion designer Michael De Graaf.

Speaking about the episode, which came a few years after Smithers came out as gay on the show, writer Johnny LaZebnik reflected on the importance of the storyline.

“When we, my dad and I, talked about writing this episode, something that was important to me was to see his relationship grow and flourish and to get those intimate moments of two gay people on screen talking about being gay or dating,” he told The AV Club.

“To have a gay romance be the A-story of a Simpsons episode, I don’t think has ever happened. And that’s what was so exciting to me.”

NME has reached out to Disney for comment on the Tiananmen Square episode.

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