Authorities in China appear to have blocked most internet users in the country from accessing HBO’s content, just days after comedian and program host John Oliver lampooned the country’s leader in an episode.
The website for HBO has been unavailable in China since Saturday, according to the Internet-rights watchdog GreatFire.org. The reports of China’s virtual cleansing is significant in two primary ways: It shows how much influence Oliver and his often cutting observational humor has, and more importantly, how authoritarian the Chinese government can be, and is getting.
After all, Oliver of “Last Week Tonight” was seemingly able to get the country to do exactly what he was trying to educate viewers of: China’s crackdown on dissent and overall illiberal polices. Oliver, with some quips and analytical satire, was essentially able to prove his own point by apparently catching the ire of the Chinese government.
Within the episode that came before the regional expulsion, Oliver specifically poked fun at Chinese president Xi Jinping, whose administration has reportedly been weeding out online comparisons of the leader and Winnie-the-Pooh in recent months.
“Clamping down on Winnie-the-Pooh comparisons doesn’t exactly project strength,” said Oliver. “It suggests a weird insecurity.”(RELATED: China Jails Main For Helping Public Use The Internet)
China was deemed the world’s worst abuser of internet freedom for a third year in a row in 2017.
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