South Park was removed from Chinese streaming services after the irreverent animated series poked fun at Hollywood for bowing to Beijing's strict censorship rules, prompting creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone to issue a tongue-in-cheek 'apology' on Monday.
'Like the NBA, we welcome the Chinese censors into our homes and into our hearts,' the show's creators wrote in a statement posted on Twitter.
'We too love money more than freedom and democracy, they wrote, adding: 'Xi doesn't look just like Winnie the Pooh at all.'
The message, which urges the audience to tune into Comedy Central, ends with the line: 'Long live the Great Communist Party of China! May this autumn's sorghum harvest be bountiful! We good now, China?'
Parker and Stone reference the NBA, which is struggling to contain the fallout from Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey's recent tweet in support of pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong - a statement some Chinese NBA fans found offensive.
The Comedy Central show, which is in the midst of its 23rd season, aired an episode on Wednesday titled 'Band in China'.
The show features Randy traveling to China to expand his marijuana distributing business.
Randy flies to China thinking he is the first businessman to seek to grow his sales by branching out internationally.
On the plane, however, he runs into a number of American businessmen, including tech figures and even NBA players, who are also headed to China.
Randy is also disappointed to find that a number of Disney characters were on the flight to China.
'I can handle some healthy competition,' he says. 'Who else wants to go to China and get some of their money?'
This prompts a number of Disney characters, including the Beast from Beauty and the Beast, Captain America and Black Panther to enter the cabin and take their seats.
'It's OK, it's OK... I'm sure there's plenty of Chinese people for all of us,' a frustrated Randy says.
After arriving in the country, Randy is hauled off to a work camp for possession of marijuana.
In the camp, he meets Winnie the Pooh and Piglet, who were imprisoned because the bear was used to mock Chinese President Xi Jinping.
While Randy languishes in a work camp, the gang at South Park decide to get together to form a metal band.
A manager then decides he wants to make a movie about the band featuring Stan, Jimmy, Kenny, and Butters.
But in order to get the film distributed in China, the manager orders numerous changes to the script.
'Now I know how Hollywood writers feel,' Stan says as Chinese guard watches over him and orders edits while he writes the script.
The episode takes a number of veiled shots at Disney. In one sequence, Mickey Mouse makes sure that cartoon characters from Disney and Disney-owned Marvel fall in line with China's edicts.
The episode ends when Stan leaves the metal band, insisting that he won't agree to Chinese censorship.
In response to the episode, Chinese streaming services and web sites removed any trace of South Park, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Every episode, clip, and reference to the show has been removed from Chinese web pages, social media sites, discussion groups, message boards, and even fan pages.
Weibo, China's Twitter-like social media platform, has removed all mention of South Park even though the show has been the subject of billions of posts.
Baidu, which is China's largest online discussions platform, has scrubbed all threats and sub-threads mentioning South Park.
The latest controversy involving a popular American brand comes as the NBA's Houston Rockets are grappling with their own problems with China sparked by General Manager Daryl Morey's tweet in support of Hong Kong protesters.
Morey apologized on Monday for a tweet in support of Hong Kong protests, saying he did not intend to offend fans of the NBA team in China.
'I was merely voicing one thought, based on one interpretation on a complicated event. I have had a lot of opportunity since that tweet to hear and consider other perspectives,' Morey said in a tweet.
'I have always appreciated the significant support our Chinese fans and sponsors have provided and I would hope that those who are upset will know that offending or misunderstanding them was not my intention,' he said, adding that his tweets did not represent the Rockets or NBA.
The team's Chinese sponsor and a Chinese sportswear maker suspended work with the Rockets after Morey's tweet over the weekend.
Morey quickly deleted the tweet, which included an image captioned: 'Fight For Freedom. Stand With Hong Kong.'
In recent months, masses of demonstrators have taken to the streets in Hong Kong to protest a proposed bill that would allow for the extradition of suspected criminals to mainland China.
Demonstrators see the bill, which has since been withdrawn, as a worrying sign of China's attempts to intervene in Hong Kong's affairs.
Hong Kong is a semi-autonomous region that has special administrative status in China after the British handed back the territory in 1997.
In a separate statement, the NBA said it recognized Morey's views have 'deeply offended many of our friends and fans in China, which is regrettable.'
The NBA's statement generated harsh backlash in the United States, with fans slamming the league for its perceived kowtowing to the Chinese government.
Seeking to mend the rift, Rockets star James Harden tried to defuse the controversy by issuing his own apology to China.
'We apologize. You know, we love China. We love playing there,' Harden said as his team prepared for an exhibition game in Tokyo on Monday.
'For both of us individually, we go there once or twice a year. They show us the most important love.'
Their Tweet is hilarious. I'm sort of surprised they didn't bend the knee, I guess they're rich enough not to. With China becoming even more of a dystopian nightmare recently I think it's good to spit their way. Anyone else think they're going to back pedal on this though?