Zedd, the superstar DJ, record producer, and songwriter, has been banned in China after liking a tweet from the official South Park account. This comes days after South Park aired the controversial episode “Band in China”, which satirized Hollywood’s appeasement of Chinese censors. Subsequently, South Park was blocked from all Chinese streaming services and media platforms.
But according to CNBC, the South Park tweet that Zedd liked came a week after the “Band in China” episode, and seemingly had little to do with the controversy. Over a GIF of a birthday cake, the cartoon’s official account wrote, “It’s our 300th episode tonight! Which is your favorite episode and why?” The next day, Zedd tweeted out, “I just got permanently banned from China because I liked a @SouthPark tweet.” A publicist has since confirmed the ban, telling CNBC that the news is completely “true.”
— South Park (@SouthPark) October 9, 2019
I just got permanently banned from China because I liked a @SouthPark tweet.
— Zedd (@Zedd) October 10, 2019
That doesn’t seem like much of a provocation, even though China has long had a strained relationship with Western media. But tensions have escalated in the past five months, as anti-government protests have rocked the semi-autonomous Chinese territory of Hong Kong. In the last week, Chinese broadcasters stopped airing NBA games after the general manager of the Houston Rockets tweeted out support for the protesters. Given the political environment, Zedd’s ban can probably be understood as a threat to other Western entertainers and businesses. It’s an attempt by the Chinese government to silence even the mildest of criticisms.
While Zedd won’t be touring China any time soon, he is currently out on the road. Zedd has a few North American dates left in Minneapolis, Atlantic City, and Miami, before jetting off to Europe to play London, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, and Hamburg. He closes the year with the New Year’s Eve “Insomnia Countdown” in San Bernardino, CA. Get your tickets here.