An item mocking China, Xi Jinping and Trump on John Oliver's HBO show Last Week Tonight seems to have wound up China's censors.
HBO's website has been blocked in China and social media censors have been working hard to eliminate comments about the show.
According to the anti-censorship and monitoring group Greatfire.org, HBO's website was completely blocked within China as of Saturday, days after media reports emerged that Weibo had censored new posts mentioning Oliver or his HBO show Last Week
In the show, Oliver made fun of the Chinese president's apparent sensitivity over comparisons of his figure with that of Winnie the Pooh. Images of the AA Milne character, used to mock Xi, have been censored in China. Oliver also took a serious
tone in the show, criticising Xi for the removal of term limits from the Chinese constitution, the use of political re-education camps in the Muslim province of Xinjiang, and a crackdown on civil society. Oliver noted the continued house arrest of
Liu Xia, wife of Chinese dissident and nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo who died last year while serving an 11-year prison sentence.
Video-on-demand streaming providers in Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries, including ASTRO, dimsum, Fox+, HOOQ,
iflix, Netflix, tonton, TVB and Walt Disney, have joined forces to launch a self-censorship Subscription Video-on-Demand Industry Content Code.
The censorship rules ensure that the content offered on these platforms is authentic, free from hate speech, pornography and other forms of inappropriate content.
Furthermore, the Code also aims to provide users with age-appropriate content advice.
Companies participating in the Code said in a statement:
We share a mutual objective of putting consumer well-being at the heart of our services. This Code demonstrates our commitment to making sure that the consumer is able to make content viewing choices that are right for them and their families.
They also welcome other video-on-demand services to work under their rules.