An episode of “The Simpsons” with a line about “forced labour camps” in mainland China has been removed from Disney’s Hong Kong streaming platform.
In the second episode of the show’s most recent season, Marge Simpson is seen cycling on an indoor spin bike with an on-screen instructor against a virtual backdrop of the Great Wall of China.
“Behold the wonders of China,” the instructor says during the scene. Bitcoin mining, child labour camps producing smartphones, and romance.”
CNN confirmed that the episode, which originally aired in October, is no longer available on the Hong Kong version of Disney+. However, the episode is available in the United States on Hulu, another Disney platform.
The removal follows the passage of a contentious national security law in Hong Kong in 2020, which prohibits “sedition, secession, and subversion” against Beijing. It also allows Chinese national security agencies to conduct operations in the city.
On Monday, the Financial Times was the first to report the news. Disney (DIS) did not respond.
A Hong Kong government spokesperson told CNN that the government would not comment on individual business decisions, including whether it had approached Disney to remove the episode.
However, the spokesperson stated that offences under the national security law “are clearly defined,” and “law-abiding people and organisations will not unwittingly violate the law.”
The individual clarified that a separate film censorship law only applies to film screenings and does not “apply to streaming services or internet platforms.”
Disney has previously faced criticism for omitting content deemed critical of China, including with the same show.
In November 2021, the Hollywood behemoth removed another episode of “The Simpsons” from its Hong Kong Disney+ platform. It depicted a scene in Tiananmen Square, the site of a 1989 massacre of pro-democracy protesters in Beijing.