In the morning of May 20, one hour before the final episode of Game of Thrones was about to air in China, Tencent video announced an unexpected delay.
“Dear users, we regret to inform you that the sixth episode of the eighth season of Game of Thrones will not go online at the intended time due to media transfer issues. We will keep you informed of the broadcast time.”
Thousands of Mainland Chinese GoT fans did not hesitate to express their outrage, when they were not able to access the latest episode on Tencent Video.
While Tencent claim they delayed the premier due to “media transfer issues”, an HBO spokesperson announced that the network had no issues with transmitting the episode. It is more likely that Tencent was restricted from airing the episode by the Chinese government because of ongoing trade disputes with the United States.
As in the rest of the world, Game of Thrones is one of the most popular shows in China, with the last season viewed over 550 million times on Tencent Video, as the Wall StreetJournal reports.
The episode did make its way to illicit websites, but is still not available for streaming via Tencent Video. Some of the outraged fans of the show are even demanding refunds, saying they’ve paid substantial membership fees to get exclusive access to shows like Game of Thrones.
Other people blame the trade war between U.S. and China. Although Tencent didn’t respond to a request to comment on this, another notable event seems to corroborate this theory. The premiere of “Over the Sea I Come to You”, which tells a story of a Chinese father sending his only child to study in America was abruptly cancelled on May 20 as well.
Featured photo credit to HBO