Xi Jinping is reportedly a 'Game of Thrones' fan and used Westeros to make a point about real-world politics

Marko Djurica/Reuters; HBOChinese President Xi Jinping and the ‘Game of Thrones’ character Jon Snow, portrayed by Kit Harington.
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping revealed himself as a “Game of Thrones” fan at a recent meeting in Beijing, the South China Morning Post reported.
  • “We must all make sure the world we live in does not descend into the chaotic warring seven kingdoms of Westeros,” he reportedly warned delegates, referring to the fictional kingdom in HBO’s wildly popular show.
  • The show is heavily censored in China, which routinely cracks down on what it considers politically sensitive or “obscene” content, like sex and gambling.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is apparently a “Game of Thrones” fan, and he even mentioned the show at a recent meeting with foreign visitors in Beijing, the South China Morning Post reports.

Citing a person who was at the meeting, the Post reported Xi as saying: “We must all make sure the world we live in does not descend into the chaotic warring seven kingdoms of Westeros.”

It’s not clear when exactly the meeting took place, what it was about, or why Xi mentioned the show. The Post reported that the president’s quip surprised both his guests and his aides.

Read INSIDER’s full coverage of ‘Game of Thrones’ here.

The HBO show, which is airing its final season, appears to be a popular talking point among China’s leadership.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, the second-most-powerful person in China behind Xi, mentioned the show at a summit with Central and Eastern European countries in Dubrovnik, Croatia, earlier this month. Scenes from the show set in the fictional city of King’s Landing were filmed in Dubrovnik.

“From what I heard, everyone watches the ‘Game of Thrones’ series, which was filmed in part in Dubrovnik,” Li said, according to Croatia’s N1 TV channel. “My friends who follow the series say that the last episode is airing around this time, just as we are coming to Dubrovnik to organise the 16+1 summit.”

“I wish to emphasise that our cooperation is not some sort of a ‘Game of Thrones,’ but true cooperation for our mutual development and interests,” he said.

Dubrovnik Croatia King's Landing Gaspar Janos ShutterstockGaspar Janos/ShutterstockDubrovnik, Croatia, where parts of ‘Game of Thrones’ were filmed and where Chinese Premier Li Keqiang held a summit earlier in April.

“Game of Thrones” is heavily censored in China, whose social-media platforms screen and cut out content that the government considers politically sensitive or obscene.

The video-streaming site of the Chinese tech giant Tencent cut out six minutes’ worth of sex scenes and battle scenes from the first episode of the latest season, leaving some fans confused and frustrated.

Chinese social-media platforms have previously censored content including music that could remind listeners of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre and videos of people gambling or engaging in “flirtatious” dancing.

Earlier this year, Chinese cinemas also cut scenes from the Oscar-winning movie “Bohemian Rhapsody” having to do with homosexuality and muted dialogue during a scene in which the Queen frontman Freddie Mercury tells his bandmates that he has AIDS.

Read more:
No smoking, no tattoos, no bikinis: Inside China’s war to ‘clean up’ the internet

Citing an unnamed Chinese official, the Post said that Xi and other Chinese leaders saw neither the unedited nor the censored versions of “Game of Thrones.” Instead, they watch an even more condensed version of the show because they are too busy to watch entire episodes, the official told the Post.

Xi recently hosted leaders from dozens of countries for a three-day conference on his Belt and Road Initiative, an ambitious project that aims to connect China to dozens of countries around the world through infrastructure projects.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte were among those in attendance. Italy recently became the first G7 country to join the initiative.

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