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

MLA says government support for forest industry is lacking

Budget also affects natural gas consumers in the region

FLESS hosts annual district science fair

Organzier says the fair has grown each year.

Confusion surrounds terms of RCMP withdrawal from pipeline construction area

B.C. Deputy Commissioner clarifies terms of agreement following minister’s statements

Stop checks, searches of Wet’suwet’en pipeline opposers unlawful: Watchdog

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs file complaint

Wet’suwet’en pipeline supporters speak up

“Protesters get one side of the story and they stand up with their fists in the air.”

VIDEO: B.C. senior recalls ‘crazy’ wartime decision to grab bear cub from den

Henry Martens – now 96 – says he was lucky to be alive after youthful decision to enter a bear’s den

Petition slams Victoria councillor who chastised police after Wetsuweten protest

Ben Isitt calls effort to get him suspended is not a ‘reliable barometer of public opinion’

B.C., Ottawa sign sweeping 30-year deal for northern caribou habitat

West Moberly, Saulteau co-manage new protection on two million acres

Suspect at large after stealing seaplane before crashing into another in Vancouver

Police responded to the incident at 3:30 a.m. on Friday at Vancouver Harbour

PHOTOS: 2020 BC Winter Games kick off in Fort St. John

More than 1,000 of B.C.’s best athletes will be competing over the next three days

Shopping cart collector at B.C. Costco awarded $583,000 after getting pinned by car

Kurtis Ryan Burdeniuk, 22, was retrieving carts when a driver backed into him in the parking lot

‘Usain Bolt he was not’: B.C. gang police seize drugs, cash after foot chase

‘The man took off running when he saw our officers approaching,’ CFSEU BC says

Canadians released from coronavirus-ridden cruise ship in Japan fly home

Those who were cleared to travel are to be screened again at Canadian Forces Base Trenton

Health officials confirm sixth COVID-19 case in B.C.

Woman remains in isolation as Fraser Health officials investigate

Most Read