Workers dismantle signage for an NBA fan event scheduled to be held on Wednesday night at the Shanghai Oriental Sports Center in Shanghai, China, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019. Chinese state broadcaster CCTV announced Tuesday it will no longer air two NBA preseason games set to be played in the country. (AP Photo)

NBA, South Park, games company swept up in China censorship fury

Supporting Hong Kong sees swift retaliation from China

TV show South Park and a major video game studio are the latest businesses swept into a growing debate over how to navigate China’s censorship efforts.

The question has heated up after the NBA suffered a backlash in China over a pro-Hong Kong tweet by the Houston Rockets general manager.

South Park’s creators tackled the issue head on, making the latest episode of their satirical cartoon about how Hollywood self-censors to gain access to China’s vast consumer market. The show was quickly scrubbed from the Chinese internet.

A check of the popular video streaming sites Youku and Bilibili turned up zero mentions of “South Park.” A search on the search engine Baidu did pull up mentions of “South Park,” but some results were removed.

Creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone issued a faux apology, saying, “Like the NBA, we welcome the Chinese censors into our homes and into our hearts. We too love money more than freedom and democracy.”

They were referring to a rapidly deleted tweet by the Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey supporting the Hong Kong protests. That angered Chinese authorities, with the state broadcaster cancelling plans to show a pair of preseason games this week and reviewing all co-operation and exchanges with the league.

VIDEO: Hong Kong protesters rebuild Lennon Wall, clash with China supporters in Richmond

Meanwhile, video games maker Activision Blizzard said Tuesday it kicked a Hong Kong esports pro out of a tournament and seized his prize money after he voiced support for Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protest movement.

The company also said it suspended Ng-wai Chung, known as Blitzchung, from the Hearthstone Grandmaster card game for a year.

Chung’s offence was to shout “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times” during a post-game interview on the weekend with two Taiwanese “casters,” or hosts, who ducked under their desk, apparently not wanting to be associated with the slogan used by protesters in the semiautonomous Chinese city.

Under the game’s rules, players can be removed for behaviour that results in public disrepute, offends the public or damages its image, Blizzard said, adding that the two hosts were also fired.

Chinese authorities generally do not officially comment on the myriad acts of censorship carried out on the Internet and in other forms every day.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver was trying to find a middle way as the league faced a firestorm sparked by Morey’s tweet.

On a visit to Tokyo, Silver said he and the league are “apologetic” that so many Chinese officials and fans were upset, but also said he isn’t apologizing for Morey’s tweet.

“Daryl Morey, as general manager of the Houston Rockets, enjoys that right as one of our employees,” Silver said. “What I also tried to suggest is that I understand there are consequences from his freedom of speech and we will have to live with those consequences.”

READ MORE: Shot teen charged as Hong Kong considers ban on masks

___

Penny Wang and Elaine Kurtenback in Bangkok and Stephen Wade and Tim Reynolds in Tokyo contributed to this report.

Kelvin Chan, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. government puts kibosh on drag racing at Alberni Valley Regional Airport

AVDRA was hopeful for a three-year temporary contract to race at the airport

Wet, white and windy winter weather hits Port Alberni

Snow expected to turn to rain on Thursday

Public invited to join Port Alberni budget discussions

Committee of the whole meeting scheduled for Jan. 20

Port Alberni’s Five Acre Shaker music fest expanded to four days

Festival at McLean Mill Historic Park is now in its sixth year

Port Alberni’s Winter Film Fest begins

First film in the series is The Farewell

‘Scariest boat ride of my life’: Passengers trapped by ice on rocky B.C. ferry sailing

The Nimpkish docked in Bella Coola on Jan.12 coated in a thick layer of ice

Special prosecutor to review Cranbrook toddler drowning case

Evidence disclosure at issue in the case of a woman sentenced for criminal negligence causing death

UPDATE: Supreme Court dismisses B.C.’s appeal in Trans Mountain pipeline case

Judges decide whether B.C.’s power to protect environment can include impeding a federal project

10 B.C. cities break temperature records in winter storm

Quesnel dipped to -41.9 C, breaking a record from 1916

Vancouver Island child struck, pinned under SUV while sledding

Boy suffers serious injuries, no charges laid in incident

Unprepared for chemistry test, B.C. student begs superintendent to call another snow day

The student from West Vancouver promised he would study more, but was distracted by skiing and hot chocolate

Blast of winter continues across B.C., bringing frigid weather and more snow

A number of weather warnings continued Thursday as winter storms continue in B.C.

Over 16,000 people nabbed by RCMP between border crossings in 2019

In 2019, 63,830 claims were filed, up from 55,040 in 2018

Most Read