SHANGHAI (REUTERS) – A live stream of the Shanghai Academy Awards, hosted by Oscar winner Chloe Zhao’s alma mater, came across China’s Great Firewall, with the organizer accessing its Virtual Private Network ) was blocked for almost two hours.

Zhao, who was born in China, was named Best Director for Nomadland On Monday (April 26), she became the first Asian woman to win the category in the award’s 93-year history.

The Recession story about a community of van residents in America also won Oscars for best picture and best actress for Frances McDormand.

Around 30 people had already gathered at 8 a.m. local time in a small bar in the Bund, a historic district in central Shanghai, to support Zhao and to follow the awards live on YouTube.

However, the screening, hosted by New York University alumni, didn’t start until 10 a.m. when organizer Kevin Ke got his VPN service up and running.

“They cut the VPN off,” Ke said, adding that his WeChat account was closed after posting a post …

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