News & Opinion | June 21, 2018 10:04 am

China’s Twitter Blocks John Oliver Mentions After His Skit Skewering Xi Jinping

The comedian noted the Chinese leader's human rights abuses and mocked his appearance.

john oliver
John Oliver (YouTube)

The British comedian John Oliver has been erased from China’s version of Twitter after the host of Last Week Tonight ran a 20-minute segment satirizing Chinese president Xi Jinping. Any new social media posts mentioned Oliver’s name or the show have been blocked on the microblogging site Weibo, reports The Guardian. Oliver’s scathing parody of Xi covered his human rights abuses, “dystopian levels of surveillance and persecution” of Uighurs in China’s western Xinjiang province, the continued detention of Liu Xia, wife of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo who died last year in state custody, and—coincidentally—online censorship. There were even memes comparing Xi’s figure with that of Winnie the Pooh.

“Clamping down on Winnie the Pooh comparisons doesn’t exactly project strength. It suggests a weird insecurity,” Oliver said, according to The Guardian. 

Any one who tries to publish posts with Oliver’s name or the name of the show receives an error message that the post violated “relevant laws, regulations or violates Weibo community rules.” You can still search for his name on Weibo but not the Chinese name of the show. The most recent comments about Oliver or the show come from June 14, before the Xi segment aired, suggesting that all newer posts have been deleted.