'Game of Thrones' finale delayed in China

Carla Harmon
May 22, 2019

Here's where it gets tense: At the time, Tencent stated they were having "transmission medium problems", even instructing viewers that they would notify them of "another broadcasting time".

An HBO spokesperson confirmed Tencent blocked transmission of the series finale.

If their assumptions are true, it's the latest casualty of the trade war, and it follows a letter from over 170 shoe retailers, including Nike and Adidas, asking President Trump to reconsider raising his decision to raise tariffs on footwear to 25 per cent. But HBO told the Wall Street Journal there were no technical issues, and that the real reason behind the delay was due to Tencent being restricted from airing it by the Chinese government-a result of the escalating trade dispute with the US.

Business Insider has contacted Tencent and HBO for comment.

Tencent, on the other hand, seems to have been unable to convey the episode as one of the consequences of the ongoing trade war with the US.

The debacle is the latest fallout in the intensifying battle over United States trade tariffs placed on Chinese goods by the Trump administration.

Tension between the two nations reached a peak last week when Donald Trump declared a national emergency that effectively bans USA companies from buying and using telecoms equipment from "foreign adversaries". He has since rowed back on that ban, but the threat remains.

Earlier this month, trade negotiations between the United States and China reached a dead end when China reneged on a deal over intellectual property issues.

But the Chinese internet giant has heavily censored some Game of Thrones episodes, removing scenes featuring sex and excessive gore, in line with Beijing's broader push to clean up content seen as vulgar or not in line with its socialist values.

The country's social-media platforms have also been cracking down extra hard on content over the past few weeks in the run-up to the thirtieth anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Incident, in which Chinese soldiers fired on and killed hundreds of pro-democracy protesters.

Tencent Video subscribers - who pay 198 yuan ($28.67) a year to stream shows - were furious to be left out of the "Game of Thrones" finale, and threatened to cancel their accounts.

"All those paying members and their trust, and this is how you repay them", a viewer wrote on Weibo after the broadcast was postponed. "I specially took a vacation today!" he said, as cited by the newspaper. The announcement was made an hour before the episode was scheduled to air 9 a.m. Monday in Beijing.

It appears that some "Game of Thrones" fans in China still managed to watch the finale through other means, though.

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