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We watched South Park’s ‘Band in China’ with Chinese nationals

Their reactions may surprise you.

The longevity and cultural impact of South Park, which debuted on Comedy Central 22 years ago, has been truly remarkable. For its 299th episode earlier this month, creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker directed the pointy end of their satire at China with an episode called “Band in China,” skewering American enterprises that negotiate with China’s censorship apparatus and ignore the country’s human rights abuses. As a result of this episode, South Park is now banned in China.

The episode has garnered near-universal praise in the U.S., but we wondered: What do Chinese nationals think? We gathered a small group to watch and asked them to comment. Some of their responses:

“I think [Americans] really love this right to satirize others, and they are never bored of exercising this right. They also think if they are able to trigger people, it makes them happy, it makes them think they have done something incredibly ‘bad ass.'”

On whether they take offense:

“I think this is okay, I haven’t seen South Park before. It is meant to be funny and a little over the top. I am personally not offended. I know this is ‘comedy.’ I think people with a brain can tell what is true and what is not.”

On the show being censored within China:

“I think we need consider the fact that there are a lot of Chinese people, and the education of the Chinese population is a little inconsistent. There are a lot of people who could be manipulated When considering the country’s situation and the majority of the people, blocking this makes sense.”

Watch the video above for more reactions.


Follow Victor on Instagram @vzvictorzheng.

Victor Zheng

Victor Zheng is a Chinese-American who grew up Virginia. In China, he has acted in web series, produced videos, and appeared on reality shows. He hopes to use his experiences and media influence to strengthen mutual understanding between China and the rest of the world, whether that be through conversations at the gym or by dancing on Chinese television. Victor currently resides in Beijing.

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