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.

Just Posted

Highway 1, crime and pipeline debated at Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon forum

Five candidates for the riding debated the issues Thursday in Abbotsford

Heated cross-riding clash at debate between NDP’s Nenn on stage, Conservative Fast in crowd

Candidates from different ridings show anger during Thursday’s all-candidates meeting in Abbotsford

RCMP officers recognized for fighting Ashcroft wildfire, taking down Hells Angels

Officers were recognized for fighting the 2017 Ashcroft fire and dismantling a Hells Angles ring

Advance voting in 2019 federal election begins

Voting at advance polling stations has become a popular choice in Canada over the years

Future remains unclear for Historic Hat Creek Ranch

Proposed one-year extension to site management agreement creates instability

B.C.’s rural paramedic program expands, with home support

Advanced care ambulance staff added for six communities

BC Ferries sees steady traffic of post-Thanksgiving weekend travellers

Ferries filling up fast, sailing waits at some terminals

‘Save the kids!’ Dorian survivor tells the harrowing story of his Canadian wife’s death

Family held a funeral and placed Alishia Liolli’s remains in a niche at a cemetery in Windsor, Ont.

Okanagan woman, 91, votes at advance polls despite broken hip, shoulder and wrist

Angela Maynard has voted in almost every election during her lifetime

Heiltsuk Nation open first Big House in 120 years in northern B.C.

Opening means the community now has an appropriate space for spiritual and ceremonial events

Singh says NDP would form coalition with the Liberals to stop Tories

Singh was in a Liberal-held riding Sunday afternoon in Surrey where he was pressed about his post-election intentions

‘My heart goes out to the mother’: B.C. dad reacts to stabbing death of Ontario boy

Carson Crimeni, who was also 14, was bullied relentlessly, his dad says

BC Ferries filling up fast with post-Thanksgiving weekend travellers

Monday anticipated to be busiest day of the weekend

‘Wham-bam out the door’: Surrey man’s front yard left ruined by scamming landscaper

Resident warns neighbours to be careful of door-to-door salesmen

Most Read