John Oliver censored in China after he talks about Chinese president Xi Jinping bearing a resemblance to Winnie The Pooh

The ban was in place after the talk show host called Chinese president Xi Jinping sensitive about his perceived resemblance to Winnie-the-Pooh.


                            John Oliver censored in China after he talks about Chinese president Xi Jinping bearing a resemblance to Winnie The Pooh
(L-R) John Oliver and President Xi Jinping (Source: Getty Images)

John Oliver fans residing in China have to deal with some pretty harsh news. They are currently blocked from accessing HBO's website, post the English talk-show-host criticizing Chinese President Xi Jinping in his June 17 episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, over a whole 20-minute segment.

GreatFire.org - the organization that alerts Chinese citizens on bans regarding censorship issues in China - first let people know that their access to HBO's China website has been prohibited since Saturday. And not just that; HBO Asia - which airs most of the American content - has also been down since then, as per reports by The Guardian.

John Oliver attends the 11th Annual Stand Up for Heroes Event presented by The New York Comedy Festival and The Bob Woodruff Foundation at The Theater at Madison Square Garden on November 7, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Bob Woodruff Foundation)

Oliver's main line of criticism was aimed at the president's unnecessary code of censorship. Detailing the point, he referenced Xi's decision to censor Winnie-the-Pooh - the fictional animated character that Xi is often said to resemble. Back in 20017, China first placed a ban on the character, along with his Chinese name and all subsequent images as well. 

"China has never exactly been known as a haven for free expression. He has clamped down noticeably on any form of dissent whatsoever," Oliver said. "Apparently, Xi Jinping is very sensitive about his perceived resemblance to Winnie-the-Pooh, and I'm not even sure it's that strong a resemblance, to be honest, but the fact he's annoyed about it means people will never stop bringing it up."

Added Oliver: "Backing down on Winnie-the-Pooh comparisons don't exactly project strength. It suggests a weird insecurity in him, and experts say that Xi is deeply concerned the public opinion will turn on him."

This particular segment later caused Oliver's name getting completely censored from Chinese social media website called Weibo, as per reports by The New York Times. Ever since the show was broadcast, users started posting their thoughts and criticism; but now if anybody tried to create a post that contains the term "John Oliver" in it, a message pops up and declares an error. 

But this social media censorship is no news in China, considering their past history with the issue. The country's range of laws regarding moderating and regulating ways in which citizens get to use the free web is not only extensive but borderline ridiculous too. 

 

China's President Xi Jinping listens to Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill (not in picture) during a meeting at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse on June 21, 2018, Beijing, China. (Photo by Fred Dufour-Pool/Getty Images)

The Great Firewall (GFW) - a form of technology that's purpose is to restrict users from viewing several different kinds of websites and their content - is what helps the most when it comes to the government regulating what the citizens get to surf, shared The New York Times

So far, only Hainan - an island province in China's southern region - is going to get its internet censorship partially removed as a motive for tourism prospects to the area. People who are visiting certain areas of the island will get access to websites like Facebook, etc.