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South Park Responds to Being Banned in China for “Band in China” (twitter.com)
453 points by thedudeabides5 10 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 235 comments





Comedy Central is owned by Viacom, which also owns Paramount Pictures. China is a huge market for Paramount's films. Paramount has previously explored a 49% sale to China's Wanda Group, and they currently have extensive financial backing from the Shanghai Film Group Corp.[2]

If they wanted to, it's well within the purview of the CCP to apply pressure to Paramount's ability to finance its films or distribute those films in China (a huge source of international box office receipts), until such time as Paramount reigns in Trey and Matt.

Note that I wouldn't support such a move, and they strike me as the type of creators who would happily walk away from their cash cow rather than self-censor. I just mean this is one possible endgame.

[1] https://variety.com/2019/tv/news/viacom-explores-sale-majori...

[2] https://www.wsj.com/articles/paramount-pictures-gets-a-1-bil...


Interesting corporate taxonomy there.

On the other hand, if China is willing to cancel something as big as the NBA at the drop of a hat (or tweet, as it were), it really highlights the risks of doing business with China in a very stark way. Nothing is to big to fail if you offend the party. You operate at their whims. Transgress, and its lights out. Too many of these kinds of reactions could backfire (one would hope).


I thought all that was common knowledge.

FWIW I hadn't heard of the NBA thing until this. Maybe because I'm Australian and the NBA isn't as huge a deal here.

They used to think that economic freedom would be the trojan horse for social freedoms. Quite the opposite I see.

Having been in China around 1983 and recently there are more social freedoms now but still a long way to go.

There may progress inland, but that's no excuse to let regression happen outside.

Agreed. But it's reins in, not reigns in.

Right: reins control horses. Reigns are what kings have. (And rains make flowers.) Those are nouns, but they all verb.

Whoops, good catch. Also technically I should have said “until Viacom reins them in”, not Paramount.

Why does South Park need Comedy Central anymore? Just distribute it online.

I agree South Park could probably move elsewhere after their contract is over (goes through 2022). They were disallowed from showing a cartoon depiction of the muslim prophet Muhammad by Comedy Central in the past and did not leave, they did however make an episode poking fun at the censorship which included a cartoon Jesus deficating on a burning American flag.

They also have an older episode with Muhammad in it from before it was considered controversial to have such a thing (It's been censored since then)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Best_Friends


I would be surprised if the team has the rights to continue elsewhere.

Self-censorship is still censorship. If these companies crater to the least common denominator, then free speech in the West is also doomed. We can't allow that to happen. Putting profits ahead of everything else is a sure way to go broke because it sacrifices quality and every other good for the sake of short-term profit. We saw Disney do this with Star Wars, trying to pander to Asian audiences and failing miserably. Now Disney has alienated their original fan base. Soon, nobody is going to care about anything Star Wars. Disney needs to smarten up.

Every company that thinks they can do business with communists needs to smarten up. Realize that you compromise your ethics completely and whatever short term gains you think you are making are eventually eaten away by the sheer clown world lunacy that is communism. Places like China can never right themselves simply because basic truths are banned from being discussed. How do they then move forward as a society? They don't, they can only move backwards.


If it is more profitable for free speech to be doomed, then it will be doomed.

More accurately, we shouldn't rely on corporations to ensure free speech.


What did Disney do with star wars to pander to asian audiences?

Gave an Asian actress in a minor role "too much" screen time. Apparently.

That entire plot and her in ep 8 was pointless. Obvious pandering

What show are we talking about?

Gave actor Donnie Yen a starring role.

The decision has nothing to do with China being communist. It has everything with both being capitalists.

You said it yourself: "Putting profits ahead of everything else.. because it sacrifices quality and every other good for the sake of short-term profit."

A blanket fear of communism is not productive.


Its scary how much communism is affecting our daily lives, even if we live far away from it...

That not communism, it's dicratorship

Is it really communism at this point? There definitely is a lot of capitalism and fascism happening there. It's really about the party and it's leaders and they'll adopt whatever economic or social policy to further the party and its leaders' power and riches.

“State capitalism” is a term I’ve heard used which makes sense to me.

propaganda is a term i've heard too

Isn't that what communism in practice is? Or are you on the "real communism has never been tried" side of things?

USSR and its sphere of influence was communism in practice. You couldn't create a company, you weren't allowed to do anything for money without state permission (and mostly there was no permission). Prices and number of things produced were decided by the ruling party.

It failed almost universally.

China today is less "communist" economically than most of EU.


China is still kinda like that. To make an internet company you need a license (not allowed without state permission) and that company is still in reality owned by the state. It may do whatever it likes to it at any moment, like insisting party members sit in the officers and control decisions ... and does. It will often also be literally owned by a state bank too.

Yes, China has less economic planning than the USSR did, that's true. But communism isn't defined by that, trying it out is just a natural consequence of Communist beliefs. Indeed Marx laid out almost nothing of how actual communist states were meant to operate. Communism is ultimately about building a totalitarian system in which the ruling classes must be loyal devotees of Marxist social theory. China certainly qualified.


> But communism isn't defined by that [central planning]

> Communism is ultimately about building a totalitarian system

I really don't want to be advocate of communism, but it seems to me you're cherry-picking the defining characteristics of communism to suit you. After all:

> Indeed Marx laid out almost nothing of how actual communist states were meant to operate

So why demand it must be totalitarian? Also

> Communism is ultimately about building a totalitarian system in which the ruling classes must be loyal devotees of Marxist social theory

Communist party in Poland at least certainly wasn't that. They were the first to become devote capitalists in 1989.


Marx didn't specify many details about how a communist society was meant to be run, but he did specify quite clearly how it was meant to be created. See the numbered list at the bottom of the Communist Manifesto:

https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1848/communist-m...

Observe that he prescribed:

1. Abolition of private property

4. Confiscation of property of all rebels and emigrants

5. Centralisation of all credit in the hands of the state

6. Centralisation of all communication and transport in the hands of the state

9. Forced mass population transfers out of cities into the countryside

How can anyone implement such drastic policies? Marx was under no illusions about this and spelled it out quite clearly, which is why the fact he's not perceived as being as evil as Hitler is an unfortunate stain on our society:

Of course, in the beginning, this cannot be effected except by means of despotic inroads ...

So he literally stated in his manifesto that creating a communist state would require despotism, or in more modern language, totalitarianism. That was just one of many calls Marx made for violent revolution rather than democratic means.

Given this starting point it's not a huge surprise the Soviets tried to implement a fully planned economy. Marx didn't specify that as an end state per se, but he specified very similar things as a means to get to communism. China still has a largely planned economy despite successfully whitewashing itself as "capitalist", hence all the stories about staggering piles of non-performing debt, zombie banks kept alive by government fiat (centralise all credit in the hands of the state), and massive overproduction of things like steel.

As for Poland in the late 80s, yes, by the end of the 20th century a lot of committed communists had realised how foolish they had been. But did they really understand the true root cause of the problems? Or did they mistakenly conclude the root cause was central planning? Sometimes when I look at the behaviour of the eastern European states I have to wonder.


> So he literally stated in his manifesto that creating a communist state would require despotism, or in more modern language, totalitarianism

Your whole argument hangs on equating despotism with totalitarianism. But it's not the same, these 2 characteristics are orthogonal.

For example European absolute monarchies were despotic but not totalitarian (mostly because there was no technology to exert absolute control over the society).

> That was just one of many calls Marx made for violent revolution rather than democratic means.

Again, violent revolution doesn't mean the state is totalitarian. Many democracies started with violent revolutions, many totalitarian states started with democratic elections.

> Marx didn't specify that as an end state per se

Thank you, that's my point. You're defining what is characteristic and accidental in communism arbitrarily.


I don't really recognise a significant difference between a (real) monarchy and a totalitarian dictatorship, to be honest. Words change over time - North Korea isn't normally described as a monarchy but it has hereditary leaders with total power. China doesn't have hereditary leaders but the way power is passed between leaders is still pretty incestuous. The USSR selected rulers through various court intrigues and assassinations, much like many monarchies did.

You seem to draw a distinction based on how much power the ruler had: "absolute" control or less than that. But all despotic rulers exercise as much power as they possibly can. Modern tech arguably makes it easier to exercise more and more power (probably ... I haven't really thought about it). But if Henry VIII had the ability to censor information by flicking some switches he'd have certainly done it.

My point about violent revolution was that if you build an organisation capable of doing all the things Marx said was necessary, you've built a totalitarian state. Yes, in theory a violent revolution which centralises all power in the hands of the revolutionaries could work out great and turn itself into a democracy, but in practice this never actually happens. Instead the state sticks around and stays despotic, it doesn't go "right! job done!" and dissolve itself like Marx imagined it would.

Given Marx's preconditions for creating communism, eternal totalitarian rule is the only plausible outcome. People don't just give up total power once they killed people to obtain it.


> I don't really recognise a significant difference between a (real) monarchy and a totalitarian dictatorship

It's not my distinction, it's the definition of totalitarianism (as opposed to other authoritarian forms of power).

> Totalitarian regimes are different from other authoritarian regimes. The latter denotes a state in which the single power holder – an individual "dictator", a committee or a junta or an otherwise small group of political elite – monopolizes political power. "[The] authoritarian state [...] is only concerned with political power and as long as that is not contested it gives society a certain degree of liberty". Authoritarianism "does not attempt to change the world and human nature". In contrast, a totalitarian regime attempts to control virtually all aspects of the social life, including the economy, education, art, science, private life and morals of citizens. [1]

Absolute monarch doesn't care what peasants think, what ethnicity or race they are, and in general it leads to much less cleansings and pogroms than totalitarianism.

> Yes, in theory a violent revolution which centralises all power in the hands of the revolutionaries could work out great and turn itself into a democracy, but in practice this never actually happens.

why all power? Where did you get that all from? Again, I hate to play the devil's advocate, but I find myself pushed to do it - Marx wanted to change the ownership of means of production. It's not all the power, and it's not unprecedented. Most revolutions change the top dogs. In very few cases in history that change led to totalitarian state.

Romania had a violent revolution. France had a violent revolution. USA had a violent revolution. Poland had violent revolutions every 20 years for over a century (BTW several of the Polish uprisings wanted to free the serfs and give them the land). All of them are now democracies :)

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Totalitarianism


I was wondering if we'd end up in argument by Wikipedia :)

We're discussing language here, maybe we're not making fine distinctions a political scientist would make, but let's check a thesaurus:

https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/totalitarianism?s=t

Synonyms for totalitarianism: despotism, authoritarianism. In common language they're the same thing.

Perhaps an English-speaking political scientist would be unhappy at those thesaurus entries and claim the differences are critical, I don't know, honestly, don't really care. If you wish to draw a distinction, and argue that it's really important that Marx was merely authoritarian and not totalitarian (or whatever), that's fine by me. I concede the point through apathy. Does Polish draw the same distinctions as English, I wonder?

Anyway. It's a distraction. The point is, communism always ends in being a dictatorship like the USSR or China, it must through its very foundational assumptions, and whatever you call the resulting system that will always yield very heavy state control of industry, information, etc. You can't have a Marxist system without it.

As for top dogs: that's one of the primary logic errors in Marxist philosophy. He divided the world into exactly two camps and then pitted them against each other: labour and owners, workers and capitalists, proles and bourgeoisie. But this world existed only in his mind. Even in the 1800s there were many people who didn't fit that neat classification, including himself. Marx spent his entire life producing words and ideas; his "means of production" was a pen and paper. He was able to do this because he was supported by a factory owning friend. So was Marx a top dog or oppressed prole? What would it mean to seize his own means of production? Have a government official steal his pens? Marx failed to notice that his own existence didn't fit his own theories, because he was an idiot whose thinking had no value due to his staggering lack of real world experience. Indeed in Das Kapital he was forced to engage in various kinds of fraud to make his own arguments work, for instance, by citing decades old English factory inspector reports as evidence of contemporary problems without observing that those same reports led to changes in the law and improvements in factory conditions. If he had remarked on that, it would have undermined his thesis that capitalism couldn't self-improve and needed violent revolution to improve worker conditions.

A good introduction to just how isolated from reality he was can be found in the book "Intellectuals" by Paul Johnson. The relevant chapter has been reproduced at this link (ignore the weird picture and lack of attribution, the words are the same):

http://thekbh.org/marx2.htm


> Does Polish draw the same distinctions as English, I wonder?

It does, and propagating totalitarian ideologies is banned by law, while propagating for example monarchy - isn't.


That sounds like a recipe for entertaining case law!

"I plead not guilty your honor, for whilst it's true that we wish to overthrow Polish democracy and install a supreme leader for life, we would call him King! Long live the king!"

"Oh, that's alright then. Not guilty!"

:)


Advocating/preparing/performing a coup is punished no matter what system you want to change into. But propagating totalitarian systems is illegal even if you don't want to do it with a coup.

Also we don't do case law here (if I understand what "case law" means).

On related note we've got hilarious court case where neonazis from ONR were explaining to the court they weren't doing "heil hitler" salute to propagate nazism, but to celebrate Roman traditions. SS signs were for reenactment and swastikas as everybody knows are Hindu symbols of good luck.


Capitalism, communism, fascism, they are all distractions from facts on the ground. Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia resembled nothing so much as one another.

Yeah, distraction indeed. In the end people argue about which "ism" it is and not the fact that some people are being oppressed, with varying degrees of horribleness.

This is not a coincidence, given fascism was a mutant heresy of syndicalism (which itself is one of the many marxist flavors). Look into D'annuzio and the various other ideological influences on Mussolini and it's not hard to figure out why Fascists loved totalitarianism and central planning as much as the mainstream marxists in Russia did.

The story is not much different in Germany. Same fruit of a poisoned tree.


EU today is less “communist” economically than most of the US.

China is as Communist as North Korea is democratic.

I'm amazed at how South Park after 23 seasons can make me laugh out loud repeatedly while combining classic south parkisms with hilarious satire of current events.

I'm a big south park fan and these 2 episodes so far have been on point.


I'm not saying they don't have a political leaning, but they often focus their energy and 22 minutes on showing just how wildly absurd a situation is. For me, that's a big ingredient in why they've stayed so entertaining.

They're also a big proponent of bothsideism. For some topics that makes sense (because there are two legitimate or legitimately absurd sides). For other topics it just pollutes discourse by elevating an illegitimate side.

I appreciate that a lot of their commentary is about how people can get carried away, regardless of how good/bad the character's ideals or intention are. A fair bit of pop media really turns me off by how hard it tries to force-feed me fashionable political opinions that I already agree with.

Most of my political disagreements with people come down more to ends vs means, implementation details, unintended consequences and the like, rather than actual core goals/ideals. In that context I did - and probably still would - enjoy the original Man Bear Pig as a gag on political advocacy even though 2006 was pretty late to be denying climate change.


The OG Man Bear Pig was related to Al Gore predicting Florida would sink and there would be more aggressive storms/hurricanes caused by then-global warming.

Turns out Al Gore was right!


"I like the style when it fits my beliefs, but this comedy show is polluting discourse when I disagree with it"

Or this is how you get the creators apologizing through the characters -for almost half an episode- of being so stupid of equating climate change with a half man, half bear, half pig creature.

They were mocking Al Gore, who made some pretty wild doom predictions which didn’t come true. Even if you’re fully on board with climate change being a very serious issue, there’s plenty of space to mock people. For example, how about an episode which mocks Democrats for coming down hard against nuclear energy (except for Yang)? It’s incredibly disappointing to see the candidates cave to the anti-nuclear wing of their base.

Correction : Al Gore made doom predictions that haven't come true yet!

He made predictions with dates in them, if I recall correctly. So his predictions can never come true because those dates have passed.

Hey, it's not like any political movement, pro-climate included, has ever been without some embarrassing missteps and overstatements. You could name anything, no matter how true or virtuous, and I could find you some wayward supporters who are doing more harm than good, and some arguments that only seem right if you focus on their conclusion.

"when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail"

some topics they tackle are nails, others... screws.


also see comments on The Onion articles

Yours is a good example, if a bit meta, of one side arguing in bad faith and being less legitimate than the other. Arguably so is this one.

I think what Trey & Matt give us in South Park comes from a pretty genuine, sincere place, most of the time. Sometimes its some of the best comedic satire ever conceived and just the kind of thing we need in the moment - other times, there's nothing particularly inspired and its pretty apparent they just need to get an episode shipped.

But... they have a rare talent for nuking sacred cows from orbit. It always hurts when its your cow.


An illegitimate side according you, might not be illegitimate in general.

I'm not saying there are no universally illegitimate sides, but even those have their supporters and some reasonable arguments. The focus should be on deconstructing these arguments instead of marking the side as illegitimate.


The way I see it, we're drawing from a pool where most ideas are bad. Most problems (or, more broadly, "systems") have unsettlingly narrow parameters under which we can secure a beneficial outcome. Like the human body: a very narrow happy path flanked on both sides by a boundless abyss of deranged and dysfunctional pathologies limited only by your imagination.

I don't have an answer for how to identify good ideas that's convincing to everyone, especially in the flimsy-whimsy domain of politics, but I believe there are always more than two sides even if it's presented that way. There are uncountable many "sides" and most of them are bad, wrong, and insane. And to entertain all of them in earnest under the pretenses that we're being fair is a paralyzing waste of time.

Even for a comedy show. It's not really about the show anyway but the bigger picture of politics that it fits into.


Oh there are you know. Some people want to murder other people that they have never met and don't know, also they want to murder those people's children. These people don't have some reasonable arguments, instead they have a shared assumption of hate and (im)moral purpose.

Just as a counter to this, war invokes similar behaviour and a lot of people often support that.

I have to say, I don;'t see this as a counter - isn't it a norm and a good idea to try and avoid wars and stop them as quickly as possible? The implacable hatred of "the other" is the problem - not the reluctance of the sane to debate with the folks who have the implacable hatred issue.

>I'm not saying there are no universally illegitimate sides, but even those have their supporters and some reasonable arguments.

Like that National Association of Marlon Brando Look Alikes.

>The focus should be on deconstructing this arguments

I wonder what arguments you may see here and what the possible deconstruction may look like.


>I wonder what arguments you may see here and what the possible deconstruction may look like.

Consider a debate about the existence of God. A theist person might say 'everything must have a creator'. One deconstruction could be that the proposed God does not seem to have a creator.


“pollutes discourse by elevating an illegitimate side”-- What if they don't consider it being illegitimate?

I don't think "bothsideism" exist, the act itself is just a cover up for political opinions. What the accusation of "bothsideism" is actually saying is "you are actually not neutral, but biased". But SP never claimed to be a political neutral medium. It is just some opinionated comedy series that some people enjoys.


Not understand why everything needs to be so left/right. I like parts of socialism think we need to provide some common things as a society and I believe in regulated capitalism. Hey I even changed my mind how to implement things for the better. I'm not left, I'm not right.

> For some topics that makes sense

Bothsideism is always good fun. It makes 100% sense if your purpose is simply humor. Discourse is mean to be polluted, heil post-truth!


I'm amazed at how fresh they've stayed - testament to Matt and Trey I guess. Most comedies are beating dead horses within 5 seasons.

You said it, todays top post on HN is Apple complying with the removal of Taiwan from their OS.

Arent Apple chips manufactured in Taiwan? Would Wouldnt it be funny if TSMC decided Apple doesnt exist?

It doesn't matter if Apple exists as long as Apple's money exists.

That would be hell of a day for Intel

The second from the top post is about Adobe cutting services to an entire country, yet here we are, twisting our knickers over a flag emoticon.

That's the really story though - companies bending over backwards to stay in one market, while cutting off another market so easily.

Money talks, they just dont have tegrity.

I'm amazed at their leadership in calling out complicit US-based groups like the NBA.

Trey and Matt manage to stay relevant in ways that other shows can't. I appreciate their work.

I think a lot of it has to do with their control of the brand and subsequently the distribution, which they even acknowledged in the most recent episode. Stan was writing a movie script while a Chinese govt official was looking over his shoulder and scratching out work that he didn't approve of and eventually shredded the paper, which Stan responded with "Now I know how all the writers in Hollywood feel."

I wasn't a huge fan of the last season, but the current season seems to be a true return to form. I really hope they can keep up the quality for the rest of the season.

I'm not a South Park fan, but that ban got my interested so I watched the episode (Yeah, that episode is banned in China and few "reposter"s has been warned for posting South Park related contents).

Few days ago, a guy been sent to jail for 7 days because he was complaining the National Day military parade, saying something like "A civilized nation turn machine into soldier; a rouge nation turn soldier into machine". And he's not the only one been sent to jail for similar reason.

This country is not taking any critic any more. Cultural Revolution 2.0 Global Edition anybody?

https://twitter.com/ytchui_M/status/1181289272466231296


I understand what you're saying. Some of the other commenters are being inconsiderate. It's dangerous when a nation loses the ability to criticize its government.

Yes, it is dangerous. It's also an increasing trend in a few Western countries where vocal disagreement or criticism is labelled as treasonous or "they want to destroy our country". It's a really short walk from there to a truly awful society.

What are you saying? What is your point?

The point is: This country is not taking any critic any more. And, that's one of the reasons why the Cultural Revolution is ended horribly. Which is why this should raise some concern at least for Chinese people.

Thanks. (To the other commenters: give them a break, not everyone is a native English speaker. I don't think that comment was machine generated)

Fair: I was tired, cranky, and jumped to a conclusion I shouldn't have. I was wrong and I apologise.

He appears to be a Chinese person who says China censors people too harshly.

I agree: GP reads like spun/machine-generated content.

"machine-generated" because my English mode still cold. I'm learning English with RNN, it takes awhile.

I apologise: that remark was unfair and out of line. I was over-tired and jumped to a conclusion.

Thanks also for the clarification: now I understand what you were saying.


Actually, me should be the one who apologize.

Sometime I just somehow prioritized to send message out when I should be making a better statement. Which already caused multiple misunderstandings on HN alone. I should definitely try not to do that anymore.


Your English is fine. You could work a little on plurals vs singular forms of nouns if you want to present yourself as a native speaker. But your post was very understandable.

He's not native speaker.

Is there an "underground" in China of people criticising the government and supporting hong kong, tibet, etc? If yes, how many people?

I know an online forum if that counts, https://pincong.rocks (Chinese, Browse with Tor) they're pretty anti-CCP in my opinion, and the only one I know of.

I don't agreed with many of their posts, but if you want to waste your time in the chaotic Chinese political small talks, then maybe that's one place to look at. Also, keep in mind that you reading small talks there, so take everything with a grain of salt.

I personally acquire most of the information on Twitter. I followed many people who working in the IT or related fields, and sometime they retweet political related stuff (As joke or mock mostly). This is how I know about that South Park episode.


"Autumn's sorghum harvest" sounds almost like "Autumn's organ harvest".......I love South Park!!!

If you cannot watch the episode (due to copyright issues with various countries), here is a link to the "Band in China" on facebook (note that it has been subbed in traditional Chinese): https://www.facebook.com/fighterstudiohk/videos/396572967928...

In France, there's 10 Southpark episodes censored, and no one cares. Also in France, repression against Gilet Jaunes was way more intense and there was less coverage, even on social medias...

That's not really the situation about South Park, Netflix chose to not make those episodes not available, there is no censorship from the CSA. Nerflix claim that those episodes were censored originally was false as those were broadcasted on Gameone. The only thing that happened then is that the channel got a warning that (for 2 of those) the episodes should have been broadcasted after 22 and rated +12 due to the content.

https://information.tv5monde.com/info/netflix-zappe-des-epis... (in french)


Result is very similar, which is all that matters. In a way it's even worse, because they pretend to be a free country and shit (while doing repression even more violently than chinese or russian governements). China at least is not pretending that.

The result is absolutly not similar since there is no censorship at all. This is even the oposite since those epsiodes are available... If you're not happy with Netflix deciding to filter what's available, just stop using netflix.

The two episodes about Muhammad are actually censored in France and are not present in the DVD sold in France:

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Park#Épisodes_censurés_e...


Oh true. I'm a bit surprised about the claim of the CSA censoring an episode since it doesn't have this power at all (it can only act once something has been broadcasted). Looks more like TF1 and Gameone decided not to publish those. I wonder if another publisher could acquire the right and actually publish those.

it is similar, that does not mean it's the same. Show me where to watch these episodes in France now...(legally) Also, I'm sure it's pretty easy to watch the censored episode in China... So yeah, very similar. Another example in France is Soral who got one year jail for sharing a music video about Gilet Jaune[1]. Whatever you think about him, it's what we can call political repression.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxFchAvqwK4


Now you're just saying pure bullshit. Soral is in jail for exactly "provocation to discrimination, hatred or violence against Jews". Freedom of speech doesn't remove any responsibility behind it. Looking at all the hate speech and racists lies this guy have been spreading for years, it's even surprising he avoided this kind of sentence before.

This is the result of more than 20 sentences since 2008, mostly for "negationisme" (negating that the holocaust happened, which is not legal in france), publishing antisemitic caricatures, hate speech and other things.

The list is available here, in french: https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alain_Soral#Condamnations


You're just lying, he's been condemned for sharing the video : https://www.nouvelobs.com/justice/20190919.OBS18677/alain-so... Video which btw have nothing antisemite... but if you want to kill your dog, accuse him of having rabies... Oh and it's not 1 year sorry, it's 18 months.


> while doing repression even more violently than chinese or russian governements

Source on that?



Article leads with 11 dead and "Macron chaos". But with deaths being caused not by police but traffic, wouldn't that imply that response has been far too muted, rather than overboard? What are you actually trying to say?

I do not support the way the french government dealt with the yellow vest protests, but you cannot compare it with countries where opposing the government gets you systematically arrested and no free press exists. It's not because some of the actions of the french government are really questionable that the situation is the same

hmm yes you can, it's a shame for France to have mutilated that many people only for doing demonstration. WHILE LETTING OTHER PEOPLE BREAKS EVERYTHING FREELY.

Censored in China. Not censored in France. Looks like different results to me.

Because Macron is one of “our guys”. Also, the way the recent Rouen chemical accident got treated by the people in charge and by the mainstream media there is a joke, had this happened in a country like China or Russia the international media would have rightfully been up in arms. These types of double standards really make our liberal/democratic society weaker and prone to populist attacks and even wins from within our own ranks, no need for a Russian or Chinese invasion or cyber-war.

Is it fair to assume that this is all of comedy Central giving China the finger as well as just the south park team?

I would imagine China would take this up to the producers? And I imagine Comedy Central is directly involved in the production/funding?

If so that's a pretty awesome and hold move on their part. I could see this leading to other shows feeling compelled to choose a side as well. I hope it does.


My understanding is South Park create the episode on the fly and deliver it to Comedy Central hours before airing it. They don't get any time to review it.

On the other hand, it's also easy to give them the finger when you don't have billions at stake.

I assume the GM of the Rockets felt he have to do something after he saw his player in this episode.

Worth a click through. The full episode is available to watch for free.

"Due to copyright and other legal issues, this South Park episode cannot be viewed in your Country"

So yes, banned in China (Hong Kong)


Same message in Vietnam. I don't think it has anything to do with the ban.


Yeah, not available in the UK or ireland either.

Same in Germany, as it always has been.

But you can watch it in German or English on their official German presence southpark.de.

Sadly, the video quality there isn't quite what I would get from pirated versions - to put it mildly.

And considering that cartoon style videos don't even need much bandwidth for good quality to begin with, this seems really weird.


Hm? The quality is just fine IME if you set it to high / HD / whatever.

Maybe I'm just blind. I found a bunch of font settings, some color settings (backgrounds etc.) and language. But no quality setting.

Is it just this episode or all episodes?

all episodes. search "south park" or "南方公园"(south park in Chinese) on video website of China, you got nothing.

Not in 'UK and Ireland' though, just FYI anyone (t)here following advice to click through.

It wouldn't load for me, even after dis-abling my ad blocker. You can download it with youtube-dl, however, and view it that way.

Well, free but with lots of ads, like network TV.

Not in New Zealand either.

I tried to watch the episode. It's not blocked here in Thailand, but the site throws up a "Due to copyright and other issues...blah blah blah...targets for US audiences...blah blah blah. So what's with that?

I'm in canada - same here.

I can go to the channel that has the rights to broadcast south park in canada and watch it there (much.com) - maybe you can do the same?


One of the protest footage was actually from Turkey when they mention excessive police brutality at China.

Not sure why you're being downvoted. You're right.

Such a good episode. South Park seems to get better with each season.

I don't know if I'd go that far. I'd argue South Park was at its peak for the first 10 seasons. This episode was awesome but there has been quite a bit of junk between now and then. Obviously just my opinion though.

Thr 2016 elections season was so darn good. Thats just my opinion as well. It became my favorite. I was never watching South Park like others did as it airs. I think shows like South Park you should have breaks on and then watch an episode or two on Hulu cause over time it does get tiresome. I can binge Family Guy and South Park but a lot gets lost compared to savoring it over time. Watched a lot of classic movies thanks to obscure Family Guy references.

Really? Wasn’t that the season that was a total mess because it was written assuming Hillary would win (which seemed overwhelmingly likely at the time)? And then they had to quickly change everything? If anything I’d say that season was one of their biggest missteps.

I have heard it doesnt take a whole lot of time for them to produce new episodes. Also I thought it parodied everybody pretty well. I didnt get the hint it was going the other direction to be honest. Was the season aired way later or something?

Those are some of the worst episodes. Except maybe the Jakovasaur one...

They had built things up too much assuming a particular outcome, and when reality didn't pan out, they had to scramble to try to salvage something remotely coherent. They mostly did not succeed.


They are hit and miss. I love them when they are really nailing it. The rest of the time, I forget about it, until something like this comes along.

Trey & Matt have done some other pretty brilliant things too, like Team America World Police, and The Book of Mormon.


It’s a Randy episode? This I will have to see, it’s been a few years.

“Band in China” on youtube in case anyone wants to catch up https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsAuSBfAfW4

Where are the usual users saying "it's a private company, they can do what they want. It's not censorship."?

Are those usual users we hear on this platform when companies like Facebook or Google or Reddit or etc censor people and ideas silent in this case or are they being hypocrites?


The question is, why are they doing it? You'd have to be naive to think that the authoritarian grip China has on everything is not the exact reason the episode is being censored.

Contrast this to banning someone for saying bad words on a forum - that's not even remotely the same issue and I shouldn't have to explain why.


Are you under the impression that South Park censored their own show in China? I can assure you that no-one would claim that China is a private company.

I don't understand this comment. The result of this episode was the government of China banned the episode. That's censorship.

What am I missing?


Interesting. I haven't watched South Park in ages. The only reason I'm going to watch this episode is because China banned it.

I wonder if it works like that for people who live in China. Is it something Chinese people often do (specifically seek out banned stuff)?


> The only reason I'm going to watch this episode is because China banned it.

Streisand effect!


No. There is simply too much personal risk for most people. Chinese censorship works because it’s backed by an enormous stick.

Do you say this as a person living in China or as a person observing China from the outside?

All of my Chinese friends when traveling to China use VPNs and other tricks in China and watch Youtube and all of that other Western stuff. It seems to be the norm among young (educated) people there.


VPNs are getting increasingly difficult to use there as the great firewall becomes more effective. It wouldn't surprise me if most people don't bother anymore.

Does anyone know if Trey and Matt own the IP? What's preventing them from walking away from Comedy Central if the channel kowtows to China and just distribute it online?

Their link shortener URL is a nice touch:

cart.mn


>deleting virtually every clip, episode

BS, every Chinese pirate streaming service I checked still has full South Park catalog.


Are you in China? Perhaps it's only been removed for users in China.

Greed, comfort, and fear vs. courage and embracing consequences.

China seems to be a good test for our foundations and principles: democracy, freedom of speech and opinion on the one hand, and capitalism, profit of shareholders, fear of losing a job or losing a market or a supplier on the other hand.

Apple, Blizzard, NBA, South Park, ... There will be more, and, unfortunately, we prefer money over virtue.


i wonder if China has copied SP and if so how they would portray the USA. Has anything been made like this? And is it just as funny?

Is satire a thing over there?

I think it would be too risky as crossing a line could mean prison.

All the Trump episodes on SP would definitely have ended with Trey and Matt locked up in China.


Yes it is a thing (albeit more subtle, which makes satire better or worse depending on your taste). I was able to read Chinese satire on U.S. gun shootings and PC issues quite frequently.

I guess my issue with things like this SP episode and these kind of satire in general, is that they only seem to focus on one important but partial aspect of one nation. To joke on American PC issues seems fun to many in China, but there are more important things to know about the U.S. than these things. In a similar vein I wish people interested in China do not just stop at knowing the terrible human rights situation and its increasingly authoritarian regime, but actually learn more about the shift of its regime since 1949, the more subtle parts of the ideology of the party (the ostensible resemblance to 1984 style "doublethink"), etc., which imo would provide much better insight into China than what is on HN.


>Yes it is a thing

I think GP was talking about satire of your own country, not propaganda about other countries.

Reminds me of the old joke:

Q: Is it true that there is freedom of speech in the Soviet Union, just like in the USA?

A: In principle, yes. In the USA, you can stand in front of the White House in Washington, DC, and yell, "Down with Reagan!", and you will not be punished. Equally, you can also stand in Red Square in Moscow and yell, "Down with Reagan!", and you will not be punished.


Well satire about Xi (and winnie the pooh) is also quite a thing, obviously censored in the most prominent channels, but still quite visible. I mean, I only say that because I assume the context ("i wonder if China has copied SP and if so how they would portray the USA") was SP satirizing China, so I offered the Chinese parallel.

And I just have to say it. The satire I am talking about comes from the actual citizens. They are not propaganda.


Satire is all the more sweet when it almost crosses a line, isn't it?

Unlike China, Americans make enough fun of themselves, and are not censored.

SNL is exactly what you're proposing.


> SNL is exactly what you're proposing.

Isn't South Park what is being proposed? Sure they made fun of China this time, but they make fun of the US and US culture more than any other nation.


I want to love SNL but a lot of the current political skits are just cast members mimicking news events mostly verbatim while pulling funny faces. (E.g. The Kavenaugh hearings: “I like beer! I like beer!”) Or taking a serious matter and turning it into mere farce. (E.g. current impeachment matters, with Giuliani portrayed with all the wit of a Sesame Street puppet.)

The recent primary debate skit was pretty good. But... the Christmas Mueller song was particularly egregious. They were better when Obama was in office, IMO. Trump has ruined a lot of “news comedy” across the board. It’s too predictable.

Please, the debate skit was as bad as anything they've done. Cheap caricatures of the media's caricatures of the candidates. The only redeeming aspect of the skit were the cameo performances, particularly the portrayal of Harris—and then only because Maya Rudolph is endlessly engaging to watch despite the weak writing.

Look how they portrayed Andrew Yang. An unconventional candidate with near-zero media attention consistently polling above O'Rourke, Klobushar, Castro and Booker. Yet the joke is how poorly he's doing? It's noteworthy that the audience literally didn't laugh.


Reality is so absurd, it's too hard to make up untrue but sufficiently believable stories...

I grew up watching SNL when Eddie Murphy was playing Buckwheat.. but that’s not the same as a real comedic attempt by a foreign power at satirizing us -;) there must be something online...

Maybe Russia will do it. I heard they have a 1:1 rip off of the Big Bang Theory. You can YouTube it, it looks obscure.

In the name of all that is holy, why would anyone rip off that show? It is literally the worst thing I have ever seen on television, excluding reality TV. And I say that as someone who grew up during TV’s dismal 1980s.

> In the name of all that is holy, why would anyone rip off that show? It is literally the worst thing I have ever seen on television

While I have never seen the show, 10-20 million people apparently watch it [0] so apparently a lot of people do like it and your tone comes off as condescending.

[0]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Big_Bang_Theory#U.S._stand...


Furthermore, apart from the fact that geek culture has always had a hate-on for TBBT, we don't import/export TV show concepts because they are perceived as good, but rather because they are seen as profitable. Good is subjective, money is its own metric.

> While I have never seen the show

You should have stopped there.


Hardliners can't be funny. That's why there's no 'woke' humor either.

Agreed. Humor can’t take itself too seriously, and its best targets are people or organizations that do.

Humor with an agenda doesn’t work.


I don't know think the PRC guys have much of a sense of humor. But the Taiwanese animators are hilarious. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4G3lPPWm6qtoWtRk4vyGwg

I like how they keep using Steph Curry (in uniform!) as a typical example of a random American.

I wonder at what point would corporations consider it a risk too big. Any comment can trigger the Chinese, it’s hard to gauge what they find insulting, since according to them all their neighbors and the west has humiliated them in the past. The volatility to the bottom line jsut isn’t worth it.

> Any comment can trigger the Chinese

Not only the Chinese, I assure you.

Nationalistic flamebait like this is a bannable offense on HN—not to mention racial/national slurs. The users who upvoted and (later) vouched for this comment have abused this site by doing so.

People routinely accuse us of being somehow pro-Chinese or secret communists for moderating HN this way, but that's not true at all. We don't like bullies or mobs, and any time that dynamic springs up here—which unfortunately is all the time, this being the internet—we instinctively take the opposite side for the time being. What's surprising to me is how so many users, who I'm sure are decent people, engage in that kind of thing.

We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21188577.


Isn't it common to refer to the "US" or "EU" when posters mean the administration and not the people? It's up to the interpretation of the reader probably. Curious to get perspective if readers indeed were offended by that comment from the poster? I'm normally not offended if someone says Americans do this or that.

I'm honestly not sure which meaning the poster intended. Either way, that sort of vagueness should probably be against the rules regardless of what they meant, to prevent ambiguous situations like these.

what about bullies that bully bullies?

It's a good question. The answer seems to me that they're equally at fault, first because they're the same as what they're attacking, but also because everyone who bullies feels that way. No one ever sees themselves as the aggressor, so if you make an exception for bullies of bullies, you end up with the status quo.

The solution is to be aware of our own aggression and contain it. That's a long, slow process. I'm sure there is still aggression in what I wrote as well.



I have sent an email requesting clarification.

Relax, he was clearly talking about the Chinese government, not Chinese people in general.

Your bias predisposes you to read it that way. Were you responsible for a community with a wide spectrum of backgrounds and views, you'd quickly learn how unreliable that sense of "clearly" can be.

HN users who are Chinese or of Chinese background have a right to come here and not see comments like that one, just the same as all HN users do.

Edit: actually, once I read the context of the thread, I see your point. The parent comments were talking about the Chinese government, so it's reasonable to see that as having been in scope.


I'm a little confused by this exchange here dang so I'd like some clarification if possible.

If the user above had said "the Chinese government", "The Communist Party of China" or simply "the party" then their comment would have been acceptable to you?


It would still have been flamebait and against the site guidelines, but it wouldn't have been a slur.

So, HN is officially a safe space? Strange, because I see all the time comments targeting (all) men or some particular ethnicities that aren’t moderated.

No. It isn't possible for any large open internet forum to be a 'safe space', not that I know what that means.

I think we need to be really clear when we talk about these things.

When we write “the Chinese” there is bound to be at least some subset of readers who see that and assume the write meant all Chinese.

I don’t believe we can be certain of the writers intent until the writer makes it clear.


Even if the writers clearly make this distinction, Chinese people, driven by Chinese propaganda, will often conflate the two. Indeed, Chinese people, even in a non political context will sometimes treat a comment about a single Chinese individual as a statement about all Chinese people.

That's a separate issue. It's enough to clearly make this distinction oneself.

What you're saying about "Chinese people" seems to me true of all people.


Surely you see the irony in defending the Chinese government in a discussion about how the Chinese government routinely censors businesses and individuals. Does Ycombinator have any important Chinese business interests?

That isn't bullying and surely you can see how it would be alarming to see you jump to defense in this way, threatening to ban a user over that benign and relevant comment, including criticizing everyone who has supported that user.


Not wanting to take ANY sides in this discussion, but:

> Does Ycombinator have any important Chinese business interests? Yes, https://blog.ycombinator.com/category/china/

That does not constitute as proof of moderator's bias, though.


I haven't defended the Chinese government.

YC was doing something in China for a while but I have no idea how important it was. Knowledge about it hasn't trickled into our corner. HN commenters seem to know more about it than we do.

It's worth remembering that HN has editorial independence within YC: https://venturebeat.com/2015/09/29/y-combinator-spins-out-ha...


There was the example of the UBS economist who commented on Swine Fever in China as well[1]:

In a podcast episode, Mr Donovan discussed higher consumer prices in China and referred to an outbreak of African swine fever that has pushed up the cost of pork.

He said: “Does it matter? It matters if you are a Chinese pig. It matters if you like eating pork in China. It does not really matter to the rest of the world.”

[1] https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/ubs-chief-e...


Please explain like I'm five. What's the social status of SP in the USA? E.g. what do Chomsky, Obama, Trump, Chelsea Clinton, Fox news think about it? How come there are no rage firings because of it?

South Park has been around for so long, and has gone after so many things, its probable they've tackled several issues in a way that really resonates with you, and makes you laugh at the same time. And in many cases, they've paid a cost that others would be unwilling to bear in doing so.

This China thing is a current example. The NBA is cravenly grovelling to the CPC, and the SP creators are taking a proverbial dump on the lawns of the CPC and the NBA and Hollywood self-censors, while giving zero-fucks. Its great. Its inspiring. Another was when Isaac Hayes (actor who voiced Chef, and a Scientologist) quit when they did their Scientology episode (and it was such a brilliant episode, and at a time when Scientology was a bit of a sacred cow in Hollywood). Isaac had no problem when SP went (and continues to go) after Christianity.

Chances are, even if they really piss you off at some point, there have been other times when they've made you cheer and laugh.


Their portrayal of Scientology got Chef to quit. And the chickenshits at Comedy Central will never again air the episodes featuring Mohammed. But otherwise I don't think anyone cares all that much.

[flagged]


Im thinking this is a non native language issue and no harm was intended but the wording of "sub optimal coloured men" would probably be interpreted as offensive by some and actually just doesn't totally make sense.

Maybe "marginalized" may be closer to the word you were looking for?


No, it was sarcastic. i was referring to an anchorwoman, that suggested LeBron "should shut up and dribble". But obviously I'm not a native speaker

Everyone realizes it's counterproductive to overreact to any particular SP parody.

Most people recognize SP as libertarian in general orientation, with a slight liberal bias.

Neither Obama nor Trump has spent a second in office thinking about its portrayal of them.


> Most people recognize SP as libertarian in general orientation

While I believe Matt & Trey are generally libertarian-leaning I've never detected the slightest bleed-through of libertarian/neoliberal idealism in the show itself.

I've not really watched the show regularly in years, maybe that's changed. I do know that they initially discussed the libertarianism at a time when it was the hip above-it-all precursor to modern both-sides-do-itism that was regularly adopted without much deep reverence to actual libertarianism.


You’re mistaking “both sides” with the ability and willingness to skewer anyone. Take a step back and it’s easy to see politics across the spectrum is ripe for satire.

That's not exactly what I'm saying. The "both sides" approach allows you to use that as evidence of neutrality.

I've never seen South Park as neutral. Its critique of American liberalism is surface level, its critique of American conservatism (whatever that means these days) was fundamental and ideological.

Moreover, I never saw the satire as much more than superficial. Which is fine, I always thought it funny but neither especially acerbic nor intellectual. I think leaning on that "neutral", above-it-all standpoint gave the show some credit that was somewhat undeserved.


Like editorial cartoons have done for over a century, changing the context lets the viewer observe whether their surface beliefs are consistent with their intuitions and principles.

I tend to find the degree of depth in South Park is entirely a function of whether you agree with their editorial position and/or whether you've already engaged with that line of thinking elsewhere. (And like every TV show ever, some episodes are good, some are stinkers.)


>> Everyone realizes it's counterproductive

Why? Because they'll fuck you up? How exactly? Im not asking about presidents' personalities, what would their political friends think? To put it another way, who watches SP, and is it some marginal minority?


Streisand effect. If you shrug it off, only SP regular viewers will know about the portrayal; if you react, everyone knows both that portrayal and that you whined about it like a little baby.

Depends on age, mostly: older people on all sides of the spectrum find SP crass. Younger people often think it's funny. You can find overwrought editorials about how SP is problematic/written by cucks, as it offends people on both sides on occasion.

I wouldn't say it's marginal, since everyone's at least heard of it. My general impression is that it tends to be watched by young-to-middle age college educated but middle class people, but you'd have to ask the studio to get a solid demographic breakdown.


What does"college educated, but middle class" mean? Are college educated people supposed to be heftier than middle class?

Doctors don't watch it.

Twenty-something college-educated salesmen do. He smokes pot, isn't on welfare, but will also work most of his life.

The intersection of class and education is too broad a topic to discuss in a couple comments, but hopefully that gives you an idea.


Lot's of people watch it. It's counterproductive because no one gives a f if you're mad about it or what your friends will think. Being a 'public figure' generally means you're considered fair game.

I guess this is as good a time as ever to not take freedom of speech for granted, that this concept is seemingly so hard to understand wherever you're from.


People are used to it and don't care about it anymore.

South Park was pretty nice to Obama overall and he had a decent ability to take a joke so I'm guessing he liked it.

I assure you Trump does not like South Park.

But at the end of the day it doesn't matter what they think. There would be huge outrage if a President tried to silence a satirical show. They wouldn't be able to get away with it.


I understand that any American president is not like Putin. However, you (as a nation) have a history of character murdering, firing for politically incorrect statements etc.

You might end up fired or losing a contract, but you’re not going to end up in jail. In South Park’s case, there’s a very slim chance that the creators will lose their contracts—they’ve been doing this for a long time.

Pretty sure they are beyond the point where firing them would put them out of work.

But what do they feel? What Trump and Obama feel about SP? For example, in Russia everybody would (hypothetically) laugh their asses out, but the creators would be promptly sued, because reasons, and won't proceed.

There’s nothing they could reasonably be sued for here. Parody, satire, and political commentary are largely protected. Our TV programming regularly criticizes and ridicules our own country’s politicians.

Nobody gives a crap what Trump or Obama feels about it, it's in the cultural domain and it's none of their business

This article discusses a very interesting, and surprising, study on political correctness. [1]

The paper found that Americans' views could be typified into three major groups. About 25% are traditional or devoted conservatives, 8% are progressive activists, and the other 67% are an "exhausted majority." The exhausted majority was typified as Americans who don't belong to either extreme, and "share a sense of fatigue with our polarized national conversation, a willingness to be flexible in their political viewpoints, and a lack of voice in the national conversation."

And most of everybody had a disdain for political correctness that transcends politics, race, and even age. The following think political correctness is a problem in the country:

- 80% of the general population

- 74% of those aged 24-29

- 79% of those under age 24

- 75% of blacks

- 79% of whites

- 82% of Asians

- 87% of Hispanics

- 88% of American Indians

There's a reasonable argument that perhaps people don't agree on what "political correctness" means, and indeed the poll part of the study did not define it for participants. However, the study engaged in various focus groups as well as individual interviews and found that individuals were "concerned about their day-to-day ability to express themselves: They worry that a lack of familiarity with a topic, or an unthinking word choice, could lead to serious social sanctions for them."

The reason this is important is that a lot of the political correctness stuff is carried out in domains that are in no way, shape, or form representative of the general population of America. This [2] poll from Pew lays out social media usage in the US. Twitter is a good, and surprising example. Only 22% of Americans use Twitter. And of those that do, 58% use it less often than once per day. Yet I think it goes without saying that our 8% from above are nearly all on Twitter and using it constantly. This results in an extremely misleading image of American society in general if you go in with the assumption that platforms like Twitter are even vaguely representative.

The point of this is that cancel culture not American culture. It's something propagated by a vocal minority on deeply unrepresentative platforms. By contrast South Park has been an American institution for more than two decades. And it continues to draw millions of viewers per episode. Cancel culture largely targets individuals who are unable to defend themselves or those for whom the "progressive activist" group makes up a significant share of their potential influence. For South Park, this couldn't be further from the case.

[1] - https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/10/large-majo...

[2] - https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/04/10/share-of-u-...


It’s a TV show that was shocking and taboo-breaking when it was new and has now largely worn out its welcome. Nobody really talks about it the way they chew over the Simpsons, it’s just sort of... there.



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