Occupy Central

US comedians poke fun at CY Leung's daughter, China censorship in Occupy news spoofs

Stephen Colbert, John Stewart and John Oliver all speak on Hong Kong's demonstrations

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 08 October, 2014, 5:10pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 09 October, 2014, 5:55pm

Occupy Central and the Umbrella Revolution might have been Hong Kong protests, but they have provided a world of entertaining fodder for the late night comedians of American television. 

Chief among these was Stephen Colbert, one of the chief "fake newsmen" of American television who frequently lampoons both American and international affairs in his programme The Colbert Report, a spoof on a typical television news broadcast. 

In a segment that originally aired on October 1, Colbert spoofed everything from Hong Kong's upcoming 2017 Chief Executive election to pollution problems on the mainland.

"Protesters in Hong Kong are being attacked with tear gas - or as it's known in China, the sky," Colbert said. 

Colbert also interviewed Louisa Lim, a former NPR and BBC correspondent and author of The People's Republic of Amnesia: Tiananmen Revisited, a book detailing how references to 1989's Tiananmen Square incident have been muffled in mainland China. 

When Lim informed Colbert that Instagram had been blocked in mainland China due to images of the protests, Colbert commented that it was probably because "Instagram has a filter that made everything look as if it were taken in Tiananmen Square in 1989". 

Watch: Stephen Colbert speaks on Occupy Central here and here. (Note: Due to limitations on Comedy Central's video player, the clips may not be viewable in all locations.) 

Stephen Colbert's Comedy Central colleague Jon Stewart also got in on the gag on October 6, dedicating nearly five minutes of The Daily Show's most recent episode to Hong Kong.

“I can't believe this," Stewart joked. "First the Chinese beat us at business with Alibaba, now they're doing protests better than us. They're beating us at both the ‘Occupy' and the ‘Wall Street'."

Stewart even commented on recent Facebook posts by Leung Chai-yan, daughter of Chief Executive CY Leung, comparing her to "rich, entitled celebrities" in the US like Paris Hilton. 

Watch: John Stewart on Hong Kong, the Occupy movement and CY Leung's daughter

Finally, John Oliver of HBO's Last Week Tonight with John Oliver offered his take, using his British heritage to comment on the relative politeness of Hong Kong demonstrators. 

"It seems Hong Kong may have left the British empire, but we clearly left our manners behind," Oliver said. 

Watch: John Oliver comments on Hongkongers and 'British manners'

Comedy programmes like Stewart and Colbert's have garnered an underground but dedicated audience in mainland China.

While neither shows are available on mainstream television, Chinese internet users have taken it upon themselves to distribute and translate clips from both programmes, and one fansite, thedailyshowcn.com, features nearly 500 videos from Stewart’s show that have been uploaded by fans.