×

HBO’s Website Remains Blocked in China, but Its Shows Aren’t

HBO’s website remained blocked in China on Wednesday after comedian John Oliver mocked Chinese President Xi Jinping in a recent episode of his talk show “Last Week Tonight.” But Chinese viewers continue to be able to watch HBO shows such as “Games of Thrones” via the streaming platform Tencent, and Oliver’s name can still be searched on Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter.

Chinese Internet users who tried to access HBO.com Wednesday morning found themselves stuck on a blank page telling them the website could not be found. Attempts to visit HBO Asia’s website also faced obstacles as users could access the site but could not load the content.

Weibo users, on the other hand, kept testing the waters by creating posts mentioning Oliver’s name. Posts containing Oliver’s name were not scrubbed, but mentions of the show could not be found.

In a 20-minute segment on the June 17 edition of “Last Week Tonight,” Oliver satirized a number of issues concerning China under Xi’s leadership, including Xi’s life-term presidency and his vaunted “Belt and Road” development initiative. The talk-show host also showed memes comparing Xi with Winnie the Pooh.

Since coming to power in 2013, Xi has steadily consolidated power through tighter control of culture and the media. He has lectured artists and creatives about using the arts and culture to serve the country. And since he extended his tenure as president to a lifetime term earlier this year, China has cracked down on film and television content by restructuring its censorship board and placing film and television directly under the Communist Party’s propaganda department.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • A Planned Parenthood clinic is seen,

    Variety to Forgo Annual Emmy Party for Donation to Planned Parenthood

    Variety has decided to make a donation to Planned Parenthood in lieu of hosting this year’s annual Emmy Awards nominees party in partnership with Women In Film. The decision comes in response to Planned Parenthood’s Aug. 19 announcement that it will drop funding over the current administration’s “unethical” rule blocking the organization from discussing its [...]

  • Rebel Wilson Isn't It Romantic

    TV News Roundup: Rebel Wilson to Host First Australian Amazon Original Series

    In today’s TV news roundup, the NFL and Pluto TV announce the launch of a new channel, and Rebel Wilson is named as the host of the first Amazon original series to come out of Australia.  CASTING Rebel Wilson is set to host and executive produce the Australian Amazon original series “LOL: Last One Laughing,” the [...]

  • Moffatt Family with the Himba tribe

    U.K.’s Channel 4 Takes British Family to Africa in New Reality Show

    U.K. broadcaster Channel 4 has greenlit new factual entertainment format “The British Tribe Next Door,” which will see a British family spend four weeks with a remote tribe in Namibia. The twist in this format is that, unlike most adventurers, the participants don’t say goodbye to the comforts of their home — instead, they take them with [...]

  • Christian Serratos as Rosita Espinosa - The

    'Walking Dead' Star Christian Serratos in Talks for Selena Series at Netflix

    Christian Serratos is in negotiations to star in the upcoming Netflix series based on the life of Tejano music star Selena Quintanilla, Variety has confirmed with sources. The series was announced back in December and is described as a coming of age story following Selena (Serratos) as her dreams come true and all the heart-wrenching [...]

  • Songs for Screens Powered by Mac

    Songs for Screens: 'American Horror Story' Makes 'Suddenly Last Summer' Sizzle Again

    FX Network’s “American Horror Story” returns for a ninth season next month, and promos for the next chapter of the anticipated series, dubbed ‘AHS 1984,’ have been airing frequently across cable television throughout August. In the short yet effective spot (see below), the Motels’ melancholic, moody “Suddenly Last Summer” plays as aerial footage of an [...]

  • Wanda Sykes, Mike Epps to Star

    Wanda Sykes, Mike Epps to Star in Multi-Camera Comedy Series for Netflix

    Wanda Sykes and Mike Epps are headed to Netflix. The streamer has ordered a multi-camera comedy series starring the two comedians titled “The Upshaws.” The series centers on a working-class Africian American family in Indiana struggling to make it work and make it right without the blueprints to do it. Sykes will executive produce and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content