As Far as China is Concerned, Zedd’s Dead, Baby

China has had something of a scorched earth policy when it comes to any sort of criticism of their totalitarian regime and talking about things like how they’re committing genocide against the Uighurs and brutally cracking down on pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong.

Like, I’m probably going to get Red Dawned tomorrow for showing you this video of a protester taking down a Chinese police officer with a flying kick but it’s so awesome.

That was so sweet.

China’s crushing of dissent is so thorough and borderline passive-aggressive that they’ve banned German DJ Zedd from the country for liking a South Park tweet.

I took a look through Zedd’s likes (and his dislikes, which was just “teenagers with attitude”) and it turns out he only liked one South Park tweet recently, this one.

That’s completely unrelated to China.

Naturally, I thought this was a joke. Honestly, it would be pretty funny, like a South Park tweet not about China and then tweet this. But it’s fucking real, CNBC confirmed he wasn’t joking about it.

“This is true, yes, but we don’t have anymore info to give you at this time,” Adam Guest, senior entertainment publicist at U.K.-based SATELLITE414 agency, told CNBC. It’s unclear at the moment whether this means that Zedd has a travel ban to China. As of Saturday, his music was still available on Chinese music streaming site QQ Music.

South Park had been the only high-profile endeavors to actually stand up to China while brands like Marvel have been meticulously self-censoring to appease China, but it seems they have actually influenced the conversation because the public’s attitude has started to change.

Blizzard Entertainment had penalized a Hearthstone player over ten thousand dollars and banned him from competition for a year, but it scaled back to no monetary penalty and a six-month ban in the face of public outrage that the move failed to quell. They also issued a statement saying the penalty wasn’t about the content of the message, and that no political speech would be tolerated regardless of content.

Moving forward, we will continue to apply tournament rules to ensure our official broadcasts remain focused on the game and are not a platform for divisive social or political views.

Everyone in the world knows that this is bullshit. But it does show that just shrugging, doing what makes China happy and saying “that’s just how it is now” isn’t going to fly anymore.

The NBA also sought to distance itself from China, with commissioner Adam Silver issuing a statement reiterating the league’s commitment to free speech.

This may be premature, but there’s hope that companies in the western world aren’t just going to openly prostrate themselves on the altar of Chinese money anymore.

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