HBO website and comedian John Oliver censored in China

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BEIJING, June 24, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – It was one Winnie the Pooh joke too
far.

After mocking censors working over time to delete comparisons of President
Xi Jinping with the cartoon bear, comedian John Oliver and now the website of
TV giant HBO have fallen victim to China’s censorship machine.

Chinese authorities blocked HBO’s website in China, just days after Oliver
took Xi to task, anti-censorship and monitoring group GreatFire.org said on
Saturday.

HBO joins a long list of Western media outlets that have had their
websites blocked in China including The New York Times, Facebook, and
Twitter.

“China: the country responsible for huge technological advances but it
still can’t seem to get pandas to f***,” Oliver opened the episode of “Last
Week Tonight” that is causing the problems.

Those technological advances include draconian surveillance and censorship
measures which appear to have made HBO and Oliver their latest victims.

Oliver’s name and that of the show he hosts were censored on China’s
popular twitter like Weibo.

“Send failure” Weibo returned when AFP attempted to post Oliver’s name.

“Content is illegal!” the service said.

YouTube, which also airs “Last Week Tonight”, has long been blocked in
China.

Oliver’s segment dug into Xi’s distaste at comparisons to the self-
described “bear of very little brain” and introduced viewers to repressive
changes underway in the world’s most populous country.

Chinese netizens have often compared Xi to A.A. Milne’s most famous
creation, something that censors have been quick to purge inside the Great
Firewall.

The segment also recounted recent headlines: from Xi becoming “emperor for
life” to a corruption purge that targeted his political rivals, to a
crackdown on freedom of expression, human rights, and religion, to an ongoing
suppression and imprisonment campaign against China’s Uighur ethnic minority.

“Xi is actively removing the post-Mao guardrails that were put in place,”
Oliver said of changes to China’s constitution which allow him to remain in
power indefinitely.

“China is becoming more authoritarian just as it has major plans for
expansion onto the world stage,” Oliver said as the segment neared an end.

“The era of do as we say may be dawning.”

 

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