Are You Okay with China’s Cultural Censorship?
Are You Okay with China’s Cultural Censorship?
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  • 승인 2019.11.08 15:08
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Kook Hyun-ho (CSE 18)
Kook Hyun-ho (CSE 18)


Recently, there were two impressive situations in the cultural industry. The newest season of ‘South Park’, one of the most famous American animations, was removed from Chinese video platforms. Also, ‘Blizzard’, one of the biggest game companies, suspended a professional game player of Hearthstone (a mobile card game). Why did these things happen? That is because of China’s censorship. Nowadays, China is threatening the worldwide cultural industry that criticizes their government or the situation in Hong Kong. Companies that are warned by China have two choices. “Keep their protest to human rights abuse” or “succumb to Chinese money”.
In the case of South Park, they chose to protest. In one episode, they compared Xi Jinping (General Secretary of the Communist Party of China) to Winnie the Pooh and criticized China for their culture of censorship. Ever since that episode aired, all episodes on China’s animation services have been deleted and searching for South Park has been forbidden. The South Park team issued an apology, but their apology resembled the recent NBA (National Basketball Association) apology, “Like the NBA, we welcome the Chinese censors into our homes and our hearts. We too love money more than freedom and democracy. Xi does not look just like Winnie the Pooh at all. - omission - May this autumn’s sorghum harvest be bountiful! Are we good now China”?
However, in Blizzard’s case, they succumbed to money. When one of the professional game players pulled down his Hong Kong protester-style mask and yelled, “Liberate Hong Kong. Revolution of outage!”, in the middle of an interview that was held after game, they banned that player from Hearthstone tournaments for one year and forfeited his prize money. On top of that, Blizzard erased all videos of the game and fired the commentators who conducted the interview. After that punishment, players all over the world were angry and started writing on Reddit - one of the biggest game forums - about Blizzard’s wrong behavior. Originally, Blizzard had actively expressed how much they were interested in social and human rights issues. Such double-faced behavior made many fans of Blizzard games angry. The issue of Hong Kong is now much more about human rights than just politics. But Blizzard, which says that human rights issues are important, ironically punishes those who cite Hong Kong issues. Eventually, after many people protested, Blizzard said they would withdraw the punishment for the player. But they never apologized for ignoring the human rights issue, and even before posting an apology, they said the player’s actions were very wrong and they would protect and respect China’s pride.
The two cases above show how much the cultural industries are currently affected by China. In various industries, China is now using its financial power to harass companies that insult or oppose China’s policies. It is a serious issue that China is having such an impact on cultural industries since they have considerable influence on people’s lives. Accordingly, companies that lead these businesses should not be corrupted by the power of politics or money. So I want to praise South Park for its response, and I want to criticize Blizzard’s response. And even if most of us consume cultural content that suits our values, we should not suppress other people’s ideas. That is the direction a vibrant culture moves towards, and that is the way we’ve shared and solved social problems as contemporary people in our society.

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