“Game of Thrones” fans in China were outraged Monday after Tencent Video announced the finale airing was delayed, sparking speculation that the ongoing U.S.-China trade war could be at fault.
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The Chinese video streaming service released a statement saying the airing of the popular HBO series’ last episode was postponed due to “media transfer issues,” Reuters reported. The announcement was made an hour before the episode was scheduled to air 9 a.m. Monday in Beijing.
“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,” read the notice posted on Weibo, a microblogging website. “We will keep you informed of the broadcast time.”
Viewers were outraged by the delay and threatened to pull their Tencent Video subscription. Others were suspicious about the delay and wondered if the U.S.-China trade war was at fault.
“Is it the result of the trade war between the U.S. and China?” a commenter wrote on Weibo.
“All those paying members and their trust, and this is how you repay them,” another person wrote.
U.S. and China have been embroiled in a trade standoff that escalated earlier this month when President Trump increased tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports to 25 percent. China hit back at the U.S. by announcing plans to raise tariffs on $60 billion worth of American products starting next month.
Officials have not said if the trade war is affecting Tencent Video, which owns the online broadcast rights to “Game of Thrones” after signing a deal with HBO in 2014 to air some of the network’s popular series, Reuters reported. Subscribers have access to the shows after paying a monthly fee that amounts to $28.66 a year for the service.
The series is widely popular among Chinese viewers despite some episodes being heavily edited to exclude scenes showing sex and violence.
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