First they censored it. Now, they’re saying they don’t want to play the game.
Chinese state councilor and foreign minister Wang Yi said Beijing did not want to “play the Game of Thrones on the world stage.” He was speaking in New York at a dinner co-hosted by the National Committee on US-China Relations and the US-China Business Council.
While the minister wasn’t explicitly referring to the HBO series, the Chinese have had a love-hate relationship with the fabled saga. The notoriously cautious Chinese censors don’t like explicit content or bloody battles, pretty much the mainstays of Game of Thrones episodes. HBO’s Chinese distribution partner, Tencent, had to censor versions of the episodes that they streamed online. In one particularly egregious example, six minutes of the Season 8 premiere were sliced.
Chinese authorities have previously blocked such media outlets and social media platforms as The New York Times, Facebook and Twitter, and frequently censor online programming. Last summer, Netflix’s Bojack Horseman was pulled from the iQiyi streaming service for “adjustments,” although it has yet to return. HBO’s John Oliver also had some critical remarks erased on China leader Xi Jinping.
Minister Wang Yi’s statement comes as China prepares for October negotiations on the tariff wars with the US.
Ironically, Wang Yi also said in New York that he urged the US to “remove all unreasonable restrictions.”