Singapore markets closed
  • Straits Times Index

    -6.36 (-0.20%)
  • Nikkei

    -34.36 (-0.13%)
  • Hang Seng

    -133.96 (-0.67%)
  • FTSE 100

    -94.15 (-1.26%)
  • Bitcoin USD

    -686.15 (-2.43%)
  • CMC Crypto 200

    -17.19 (-2.78%)
  • S&P 500

    +22.27 (+0.56%)
  • Dow

    +132.28 (+0.41%)
  • Nasdaq

    +36.56 (+0.31%)
  • Gold

    -14.90 (-0.75%)
  • Crude Oil

    -0.70 (-1.00%)
  • 10-Yr Bond

    -0.0260 (-0.76%)
  • FTSE Bursa Malaysia

    -11.28 (-0.80%)
  • Jakarta Composite Index

    +70.64 (+1.06%)
  • PSE Index

    +65.81 (+1.01%)

Disney cuts Simpsons episode in Hong Kong over reference to forced labour camps in China

The episode “One Angry Lisa” contains a reference to China's forced labour camps - Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection/Alamy Stock Photo
The episode “One Angry Lisa” contains a reference to China's forced labour camps - Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection/Alamy Stock Photo

Disney has cut an episode of The Simpsons that refers to “forced labour camps” in China from its streaming service in Hong Kong.

The episode was first aired in October as part of the cartoon’s latest series but is no longer available on the Disney Plus streaming platform in Hong Kong.

In the episode “One Angry Lisa”, Marge Simpson sees images of the Great Wall of China while taking part in an exercise class.

The instructor says: “Behold the wonders of China. Bitcoin mines, forced labour camps where children make smartphones.”

It is understood Disney removed the episode to comply with China's sweeping national security laws, which were introduced to Hong Kong in 2020.

Human rights groups and Western governments have accused China of crimes against humanity and potential genocide of the Muslim Uyghur ethnic minority in the western region of Xinjiang.

China is accused of detaining more than 1m people against their will in so-called “re-education camps”. Beijing has denied the allegations.

Disney has been contacted for comment. The move was first reported by the Financial Times.

The incident appears to be at least the second time Disney has removed an episode of The Simpsons from Disney Plus in the region because of its content.

In 2021, the US media giant removed an episode that referenced China’s efforts to repression knowledge of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.

The episode, which first aired in 2005, depicts a sign in the square that reads: “On this site, in 1989, nothing happened.”

Disney has made significant investments in both mainland China and Hong Kong despite rising tensions between Washington and Beijing.

The company will this month release Marvel blockbusters Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania in China – the first releases for the franchise in that market for almost four years.

Disney also operates theme parks in Shanghai and Hong Kong

However, operations in the region are increasingly politically charged as China clashes with the West and Beijing tightens its grip on Hong Kong, suppressing freedom of speech and democracy.

In 2021, Hong Kong’s government passed a film censorship law to “safeguard national security”, but officials have said the law does not apply to streaming services.

Disney faced an attempted boycott of its 2020 remake of Mulan after it shot some of the film in Xinjiang.

The Simpsons, which is now in its 34th series, is one of Disney’s most reliable hits. More than 15bn minutes of the show was streamed on Disney Plus last year, according to data from Nielsen.