The Simpsons episode that mentions ‘forced labor camps’ in China is cut from Disney+ in Hong Kong
An episode of “The Simpsons” that includes a line about “forced labor camps” in mainland China has been removed from Disney’s Hong Kong streaming platform.
A scene from the second episode of its final season shows the show’s matriarch Marge Simpson riding an indoor spin bike with an on-screen instructor against a virtual backdrop of the Great Wall of China.
During the scene, the instructor says, “Here are the wonders of China. Bitcoin mines, forced labor camps where children make smartphones and romance.
CNN has confirmed that the episode – which first aired in October – is not available on the Hong Kong version of Disney+. The episode is however available in the United States on Hulu, another Disney platform.
The withdrawal comes after the rollout of a controversial national security law in Hong Kong in 2020, which prohibits “sedition, secession and subversion” against Beijing. It also allows Chinese national security agencies to operate in the city.
Disney (DIS) declined to comment, while the Hong Kong government did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Financial Times was first to report the news on Monday.
Disney has already come under scrutiny for omitting content deemed critical of China, including with the same show.
In November 2021, the Hollywood giant pulled another episode of “The Simpsons” from its Disney+ platform in Hong Kong. It featured a scene in Tiananmen Square, the site of a brutal massacre of pro-democracy protesters in Beijing in 1989.
In this episode, the Simpsons family visiting the Chinese capital comes across a sign in the square that reads, “On this site, in 1989, nothing happened.”
The latest reference comes as China continues to be accused of forced labor, particularly in its far western region of Xinjiang.
In 2021, the United States banned all imports from the region, where the US State Department estimated that up to two million Uyghurs and members of other ethnic groups were imprisoned in a network of internment camps. Former detainees have claimed to have been subjected to intense political indoctrination, forced labor, torture and sexual abuse at these sites.
China has firmly denied committing human rights abuses in Xinjiang. He has previously said he has set up such centers as a way to fight “extremism” in the region.
— CNN’s Tara Subramaniam contributed to this report.