A few days after comedian John Oliver took a dig at China’s president Xi Jinping on his show on HBO, Chinese officials took revenge. Access to the network’s online content has been blocked from the internet in China, by officials of the country. According to GreatFire.org, an organization monitoring internet censorship, HBO’s website has been blocked in China since June 23.
The HBO block comes after China applied measures to remove any mention of Oliver on Weibo, a popular Chinese social networking site. The episode was aired on June 17, and detailed China’s alleged human rights abuses and the clampdown on free speech in the country. Oliver’s joke was about China blocking online comparisons between their president and Winnie-the-Pooh by internet users in the country.
"Clamping down on Winnie-the-Pooh comparisons doesn't exactly project strength," Oliver said, as quoted by The Hollywood Reporter.
HBO is distributed in China through HBO Asia, a subsidiary company. The channel is no longer aired in the country except in hotels, which is considered as ‘foreign housing compounds.’ Interestingly, Oliver’s show was never a part of HBO Asia’s list of programs.
Before it was blocked, the HBO China website was more of an advertising platform than a portal for streaming movies.