SHANGHAI – China’s Twitter-like microblogging service Weibo has blocked and deleted posts referring to British comedian John Oliver after he slammed the country’s human rights record and mocked President Xi Jinping on his show, Last Week Tonight.

The highly popular show on HBO focused on China and in its 20-minute segment which aired last Sunday, Oliver criticised China’s moves to end presidential term limits and enshrine “Xi Jinping Thought” in its Constitution, Oliver said that Xi’s complete shrinkage of power was driven by a “leadership cult”.

Oliver also mocked China’s “Belt and Road” initiative, the government’s ongoing crackdown on corruption, and moves to censor online images of the cartoon bear Winnie the Pooh, which he said resembled Xi.

When Weibo users tried to search Oliver’s English name or the name of his show, error messages appeared saying “information that violated related laws and regulations”. The cracked down on the web search even failed to have a Chinese translation of his name, which does not appear and has since been censored.

“For my whole life, I won’t be able to see John Oliver enter China’s market after this episode,” one Weibo user wrote on Thursday, using a Chinese translation of Oliver’s name.

The most recent Weibo posts referring to John Oliver in English were from June 12, since then the has been complete censorship of his name.

According to a fan page moderator, they said in 2017  Weibo removed a Chinese-language fan page of John Oliver’s show after the satirist interviewed Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. China does not recognize Tibet as a sovereign country nor its spiritual leader.

A fan who translates content of John Oliver’s show, who wanted to remain anonymous said, “John Oliver must have seen this coming, but I don’t think it really matters. China does not generate any revenue for HBO.”

Video Credit- YouTube

Photo credit- FMT

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