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OSCARS LIVESTREAM BLOCKED IN CHINA

A livestream of the Academy Awards in Shanghai hosted by alumni of Oscar-winner Chloe Zhao’s alma mater ran into China’s Great Firewall, with the organiser saying access to his virtual private network (VPN) service was blocked for nearly two hours.

Beijing-born Zhao, whose critical 2013 comment on China resurfaced after her nomination, sparking backlash in the country, was named best director for “Nomadland” on Monday, making her the first Asian woman to win the category in the award’s 93-year history.

The Recession-era tale about a community of van dwellers in America also won Oscars for best picture and best actress, for Frances McDormand.

About 30 people had gathered at a small bar on The Bund, a historic district in central Shanghai, as early as 8 a.m. local time (0000 GMT) to support Zhao and watch the awards live on YouTube.

But the screening, hosted by New York University alumni, didn’t start until 10am, when organiser Kevin Ke finally got his VPN service to work.

“They cut the VPN,” Ke announced to the gathering. He also said his WeChat account was blocked after he wrote a post on Sunday praising Zhao.

 

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