John Oliver 'banned' in China following criticism of president Xi Jinping on Last Week Tonight

Jacob Stolworthy

John Oliver has been censored in China days after criticising the country's president Xi Jinping.

China's biggest social media site has banned any mention of the TV personality following an episode of US show Last Week Tonight in which he highlighted political and human rights issues the country is facing.

The BBC verified the censorship by trying - and failing - to post a status with John Oliver's name to Chinese social media site Weibo. Attempts are being met with an error message stating the post is a violation of “relevant laws and regulations.”

The episode saw Oliver detail the country's heavily criticised removal of presidential term limits, something which has permitted Xi to stay in power for the remainder of his life.

The British presenter didn't stop there. He highlighted the case of human rights activist Liu Xiaobo who was deemed a criminal and died while serving an 11-year prison sentence for subversion in 2017. Like Oliver, mention of Liu has been censored on Weibo.

“Xi's crackdown on human rights is apparently the harshest crackdown since Tiananmen square,” Oliver said, adding: “[He] has clamped down noticeably on any form of dissident whatsoever.”

He also later questioned the treatment of Muslim minority Uighurs who face new restrictions implemented by the Chinese government.

It's common for internet activity to be censored in China with millions reportedly employed to swiftly remove posts considered politically incorrect.

Last Week Tonight airs on HBO in the US and Sky Atlantic in the UK.

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