HBO.com down in China after John Oliver blocked on Weibo

Oliver mocked Chinese President Xi Jinping on Last Week Tonight, which airs on HBO.

Marrian Zhou Staff Reporter
Marrian Zhou is a Beijing-born Californian living in New York City. She joined CNET as a staff reporter upon graduation from Columbia Journalism School. When Marrian is not reporting, she is probably binge watching, playing saxophone or eating hot pot.
Marrian Zhou

HBO.com is unavailable in China after John Oliver was blocked on Weibo for mocking China's President Xi Jinping.

Dennis Van Tine/Geisler-Fotopres/dpa/Corbis

It's not just John Oliver. Now, HBO is on the Chinese government's radar.

It appears that Chinese authorities blocked HBO's website after John Oliver criticized President Xi Jinping for censorship, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday. HBO.com offers programming information but no shows. It's still blocked in China as of Tuesday, according to Greatfire.org, a censorship watchdog group.

The Chinese government is known for severe censorship and closely patrolling the internet. After John Oliver roasted Xi on his HBO show Last Week Tonight -- comparing Xi to the cartoon character Winnie the Pooh and mocking him for extending his term to serve as the president -- the comedian was barred from China's Twitter-equivalent Weibo.

HBO is largely inaccessible in China, but it has been selling shows, such as Game of Thrones and Band of Brothers, through Tencent Holdings Ltd.'s streaming service, according to Bloomberg. Although the shows reportedly haven't been affected, Tencent owns Weibo.

HBO didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.