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Chinese state TV blurs out World Cup fans without masks – The Hollywood Reporter


As protests against COVID restrictions continue to spread across China, the country’s state broadcaster has censored images of crowds without masks at the 2022 World Cup.

During Sunday’s World Cup group stage match between Japan and Costa Rica, Chinese state broadcaster CCTV’s sports channel replaced photos of fans without masks in the stadium with pictures. photos of players and officials, according to South China Post Office Morning. CCTV Sports is also said to have cut the crowd from coverage of the match between Australia and Tunisia.

As the World Cup opened, the image of fans wearing no masks at the World Cup angered Chinese viewers and social media users, known as netizens, with supporters of the so-called This country’s Zero Covid policy mocks other countries for their reckless approach to COVID-19.

Over the weekend, rising anger nationally over China’s COVID restrictions erupted into protests in several major cities including Shanghai and Beijing. However, an increasing number of Chinese see the pictures of the fans from Qatar as further proof that the rest of the world has moved forward as their country has to follow micro-protocols. limited withdrawals and unending protracted blockades.

Video clips from World Cup matches showing fans without masks smiling and cheering in the stands in Qatar, without social distancing, have gone viral on media services. Chinese social media WeChat and Weibo, with many users posting sarcastic comments asking if the event was taking place on another planet or in another dimension.

“Is this WC 2018? Isn’t anyone worried about the virus?” wrote a user on WeChat.

State censors reacted quickly to their usual strategy of mass deleting important posts and dramatically reducing the amount of crowd footage from local television tournament broadcasts. direction.

The popularity of the FIFA World Cup has skyrocketed in China over the past decade, with Chinese President Xi Jinping personally pledging that China will eventually become a major competitor. did not qualify for this year’s tournament). Overall, Chinese companies are the biggest sponsors of the 2022 World Cup, having spent $1.4 billion on sponsorship deals, compared with $1.1 billion from American brands, according to estimates.

This year, however, as many of China’s major cities continue to be locked down due to the weather, with their once vibrant sports bars and restaurants closed, the World Cup further underscores the global isolation. growing Chinese — especially for Chinese fans watching from their own homes in isolation. .

Chinese surveillance site What’s on Weibo reported that a lot of young protesters in Beijing and Shanghai held up white pieces of paper as a sign of disagreement over COVID policy and censorship, with many calling the protests ” The A4 Revolution”. Another popular slogan that briefly circulated on WeChat was “Blocked Lives Matter” — until censors blocked it.

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