Xi Jinping: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)
China blocks HBO after John Oliver criticises Xi Jinping
China has blocked internet users from going on HBO's website after TV host John Oliver used his HBO show to mock President Xi Jinping for his widespread censorship and human rights abuses.
Anti-censorship and monitoring group Greatfire.org said HBO.com has been completely blocked within China since Saturday. The ban comes days after Weibo, China's largest social network, blocked all mentions of Oliver both in English and Chinese name following his criticisms.
Oliver targeted Xi on his June 17 episode of "Last Week Tonight." He called Xi a "creepy uncle who imprisons 800,000 people in his basement" and criticised Xi's consolidation of power, which has seen him remove presidential term limits and censor the internet at an unprecedented pace.
Xi Jinping, Chinese president and general secretary of the Community Party of China, is known for censoring internet content. WPA Pool/Getty
Oliver said that Xi had "clamped down noticeably on any form of dissent whatsoever."
Blocking HBO's website is unlikely to have huge effects in China, as the network, which is distributed to cable TV in the country through subsidiary HBO Asia, was not widely available. "Last Week Tonight" was not available at all in the network's lineup in the region.
HBO.com did not stream movies and TV shows in the country, but was an advertising platform. Some HBO programmes, not including "Last Week Tonight," are available on other streaming sources, which appear unaffected by the new ban, according to The New York Times.
Weibo's ban of mentions of Oliver was first noticed by Inkstone, a China-focused news outlet affiliated with the South China Morning Post.
There is no indication that Weibo's action was prompted by the Chinese government, though it does have a history of censoring criticism of Xi.
Notably, the government has repeatedly blocked images of Winnie the Pooh, which people in China use to mock Xi by implying that the two look the same.
"Clamping down on Winnie the Pooh comparisons doesn't exactly project strength," Oliver said on his show. "It suggests a weird insecurity."
Oliver's shows are often discussed and shared unofficially on video platforms, Inkstone said. YouTube has long been blocked in China.
Video: China Blocks HBO Website After John Oliver Pokes Fun at Xi Jinping
How to Keep Your Running Shoes From Smelling Bad
College Graduation: How to Deal With a Major Life Change
5 Cocktail Recipes to Fête St. Patricks Day
10. Parting On The Right Side
You Know You Have Chronic Fatigue When
The best places to buy affordable art
The Easiest Retirement Plan: Start Saving Now
What All the Cool Kids Are Wearing to Men’s FashionWeek
How to Change the Default Text Messaging App on an Android Phone
How to Win a Guy Back After Being Dumped
21 of the Funniest Tweets about Bey and Jays On the Run II Tour
Hot Topic: Bed-sharing