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The Associated Press reports that John Oliver hosted a segment on his show Last Week Tonight in which he criticized Chinese President Xi Jinping. In particular, he said that he looked like Winnie the Pooh and criticized policy under his rule of sending Muslims to political indoctrination camps. This resulted in the Chinese government blocking access to him on social media.

Attempts to send posts Friday with either the terms "John Oliver" or "Last Week Tonight" on the Sina Weibo microblog were met with failure messages saying "the content contains information that violates relevant laws and regulations."

What specifically were the laws and regulations that John Oliver's content violated?

  • It looks a lot like a law.se question, but perhaps it is a implementation question about the Great Firewall. – user9389 Jun 26 '18 at 15:31
  • Please clarify as to whether this is in regards to Chinese laws, international laws, US laws, or perhaps some combination of those. – agc Jun 27 '18 at 16:58
  • @agc That's my question: what were the laws that were violated? Were they Chinese, international, US or some combination? – Thunderforge Jun 27 '18 at 18:16
  • Also, is it clear that this seemingly legal error message isn't the accidental result of some configuration error on the part of the GFW admins? Perhaps they were just trying to keep tabs on public opinion, but mixed up some keyword logging filter with a blocking filter. A poorly designed interface would make such problems more likely. – agc Jun 27 '18 at 18:33
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Well, there is not really any law authorizing the GFW (Great Firewall) at all. Why do you expect that this has violated a law?

If I must pick one law that it violated, then I'd say it violated Article 12 of the Cyber Security Law of the PRC, which forbids using the Internet to "injure the State's security, honor and interests", or to "infringe on other individuals' reputation". Which is extremely broad, as intended.

There might indeed be a regulation that says "please take this down immediately", but usually those regulations are passed by the pertinent gov't agencies directly to the Internet corporations, without being publicized to the general public. The only way the general public learns about them is by hearsay. Not a typical "regulation" in the Western sense.

In case anyone is interested, I have not found an English translation of the law. But if you read Chinese it's here.

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    "Why do you expect that this has violated a law?" Because that's exactly what the error message says and what news sites are reporting. I think I'd like something more than speculation to answer this. – Thunderforge Jun 26 '18 at 16:41
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    @Thunderforge Well, it would be naïve to interpret this message literally, given the censorship and lack of rule of law in China. There might indeed be a regulation that ordains Sina Weibo to take the contents down, but usually those regulations are passed by the pertinent gov't agencies directly to the Internet corporations, without being publicized to the general public. Not a typicla "regulation" in the Western sense. – xuq01 Jun 27 '18 at 4:47
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    A link to the actual text of the law would be useful. – agc Jun 27 '18 at 17:19
  • @agc I have not found an English translation of the law, and the Chinese version is easily found online. I was translating from the Chinese text. – xuq01 Jun 27 '18 at 18:42
  • Ok, why isn't the Cyber Security Law of the PRC a reasonable answer to the original question? – user21424 Jun 30 '18 at 16:18

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