The creators of "South Park" have offered a fake apology to China on Monday after the country reportedly censored the popular television show. The episode "Band in China" tackles the way Hollywood often tailors its content to avoid offending Chinese censors.
The reported censorship comes after China's national broadcaster, CCTV, announced it would not air preseason NBA games taking place in Shenzhen after a team executive published a tweet supporting pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, a search of the social media company Weibo brings up no mention of South Park in "billions of past posts." Full seasons and clips of the show have also disappeared on Alibaba-owned streaming service Youku.
"Like the NBA, we welcome the Chinese censors into our homes and into our hearts," Trey Parker and Matt Stone wrote on Twitter. "We too love money more than freedom and democracy. Tune into our 300th episode this Wednesday at 10! Long live the great Communist Party of China. May the autumn's sorghum harvest be bountiful. We good now China?"
The creators' response was a clear dig at the NBA, which is typically praised for valuing the free speech of its employees and stars, for scrambling to respond to the controversy surrounding a deleted tweet from Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey.
The league released a statement Monday on the controversy accepting that Morey's remark might have "deeply offended many of our friends and fans in China, which is regrettable."
However, NBA commissioner Adam Silver came to Morey's defense on Tuesday, defending his right to free speech. "I think as a values-based organization that I want to make it clear ... that Daryl Morey is supported in terms of his ability to exercise his freedom of expression."
South Park joins another beloved animated show that's been banned - Winnie the Pooh. The Chinese name for Winnie the Pooh (Little Bear Winnie) was blocked on Chinese social media sites because bloggers have been comparing the plump bear to China's President Xi Jinping.