A satirical depiction of Chinese President Xi Jinping in a recent episode of animated adult cartoon South Park has drawn a number of strong reactions online, reports Global Voices.
The episode, ‘Tweek x Craig‘, aired on October 28 and featured the animated Chinese president saying that Japan decides “who is gay or not” in Asia.
“They are dogs who refuse not apologise to the Chinese Republic,” the characterisation also says of the Japanese. At the end of the episode, he also kisses his Korean-speaking secretary in his office.
holy. shit. the gay anime south park episode has the president of china calling japanese people dogs. pic.twitter.com/9hbhmmnJkT
— Stefan Constantine (@WhatTheBit) November 1, 2015
Explaining the satirical reference behind the animated kiss, some commenters suggested the Korean secretary in the episode might actually be a representation of Park Geun-hye, South Korea’s president, who has close ties to China.
Japan, China and South Korea have long had bad relations, and their territorial disputes have been a contentious source of debate for decades. While neither of the three countries get on well, both China and South Korea share animosity towards Japan due in part to their historical military aggression.
— 可愛い推特王林 (@SlowZhu) November 1, 2015
The politically sensitive scene caused Chinese fans on Weibo to worry that the country’s propaganda authorities would ban the show from online circulation as the implied extramarital affair would be regarded as corrupt within the context of the country’s anti-graft campaign.
Their worries were justified, as pirated copies of the original episode were quickly removed from the domestic internet and a new censored version is now circulating with the scene removed.
Other fans of the show defended it on Weibo, pointing out the difference between humor and maliciousness.
Known for smashing taboos, the creators of the show, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, are far from strangers to controversy. In 2010, a radical Muslim organisation posted a warning on their website that Parker and Stone risked being murdered for their depiction of Muhammad in the series.
It is also not the first time they have satirised China. In the episode, ‘The China Probrem,’ one of the main characters, Cartman, tries to avert a suspected Chinese invasion of America after watching the Beijing 2008 Olympics on television.
The series also occasionally features the character Tuong Lu Kim, also known as the City Wok Guy, who displays anti-Mongolian and anti-Japanese sentiments, and who is depicted as an expert at building walls.