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John Oliver piles on China's president after HBO website banned in China

On Sunday’s Last Week Tonight, host John Oliver had a callback to his June 17 episode, when he took a critical look at Chinese President Xi Jinping and the economic rise in China. That story resulted in HBO’s website being blocked in the country.

The June 17 segment, which was 20 minutes long, examined how Xi has clamped down on any form of criticism directed toward him, including online memes.

“Apparently Xi Jinping is very sensitive about his perceived resemblance to Winnie the Pooh,” Oliver said during that episode. “The fact he’s annoyed about it means people will never stop bringing it up.”

And that’s exactly what Oliver did on Sunday’s show. Instead of addressing the website ban directly, he took a moment in a story about genetic editing to insert the one joke that seems to trip Xi’s trigger. Referring to a Chinese scientist, Oliver randomly turned the conversation to Xi and, of course, Winnie the Pooh.

“That guy seems a little bit blasé about gene-editing technology, which is kind of surprising in a country whose president — as you may remember from our show about China — is a honey-eating talking bear,” Oliver said. “The resemblance is striking. I don’t know which is which,” he said, before continuing with the gene-editing story.

Last Week Tonight With John Oliver airs Sundays at 11 p.m. on HBO.

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