Disney won’t show ‘Simpsons’ episode in Hong Kong that mentions ‘forced labor’

Hong Kong

An episode of “The Simpsons” that includes a line about “forced labor camps” in mainland China has been pulled from Disney’s streaming platform in Hong Kong.

A scene from the second episode of its latest season features the show’s mentor, Marge Simpson, cycling on an indoor spin bike with an on-screen instructor in front of a virtual backdrop of the Great Wall of China.

During the scene, the instructor says: “See the wonders of China. Bitcoin mines, forced labor camps where kids make smartphones, and romance.”

has confirmed that the episode — which first aired in October — is not available on the Hong Kong version of Disney+. However, the episode is available to watch in the United States on Hulu, another Disney platform.

The removal follows the enactment of a controversial national security law in Hong Kong in 2020, which bans “rebellion, secession and rebellion” against Beijing. It also enables 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 first reported the news on Monday.

Disney has faced scrutiny before for releasing content deemed critical of China — including with this same show.

In November 2021, the Hollywood giant removed another episode of “The Simpsons” from its Disney+ platform in Hong Kong. It featured a scene from Tiananmen Square, the site of a brutal massacre of pro-democracy protesters in Beijing in 1989.

In this episode, the Simpson family visiting the Chinese capital find a sign in the square that reads, “On this site, in 1989, nothing happened.”

The latest reference comes as China is 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 estimates that up to two million Uyghurs and members of other ethnic groups are held in a network of concentration camps. Former detainees have alleged that they were subjected to intense political incitement, forced labor, torture and sexual abuse in such facilities.

China has strongly denied human rights violations in Xinjiang. It has previously said it has set up such centers to combat “extremism” in the region.

— Tara Subramaniam contributed to this report.

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