Chinese state television CCTV is censoring images from the stands at the World Cup games, after the sight of thousands of fans without a mask has intensified popular discontent with the ‘zero covid’ strategy.
In a comparison made by the Lusa agency, during the France — Denmark game this weekend, between the CCTV transmission and that of a foreign broadcaster, it appears that the Chinese state body is replacing the images of supporters in the stands with images of players or the technical team, using a delay of about 30 seconds.
During the broadcast last Thursday of the Portugal — Ghana game on CCTV, for example, the Portuguese team appeared to sing the anthem twice, also aiming to replace the images of supporters in the stands.
The opening ceremony of the World Cup in Qatar, followed by millions of Chinese, highlighted the contrast between China, which maintains the ‘zero cases’ strategy of covid-19, and the rest of the world, with netizens questioning, sarcastically, whether they are living on another planet.
“The World Cup has started and Beijing is in absolute silence”, described Jessica, a Chinese flight attendant residing in the capital of China, in a widespread comment on the social network WeChat. “I feel like I’m at the bottom of a well, looking out into a wonderful world that I can’t interact with,” she added. “What then is the purpose of living?”
This gave rise to the theme #SeráQueWeAusNoMesmoPlaneta, in Chinese social networks.
Many Chinese, hitherto limited to information linked by official bodies, which continue to describe the outside world as “virus-devastated” as opposed to a safe China, were baffled by the absence of social distancing rules and fans without masks. .
This comes at a time when outbreaks of covid-19 have forced the imposition of new, highly restrictive lockdowns in Beijing, Guangzhou and dozens of other smaller cities in China. The Covid-19 ‘zero cases’ strategy includes blocking entire cities, constant mass testing and isolating all positive cases and their direct contacts in designated facilities, often in degrading conditions. China has also maintained its borders virtually closed since March 2020.
This weekend, hundreds of groups of residents in Beijing left their condominiums, effectively breaking with the epidemic prevention measures in force in China, while demonstrations spread across several cities in the Asian country, against the imposition of confinement measures. In some cases, protesters launched slogans against Chinese leader Xi Jinping and the Communist Party of China.
Large-scale protests are extremely rare in the Asian country.
The demonstrations were mostly peaceful. However, in Guangzhou, the largest city in southern China, the Haizhu district has been the scene of violent clashes between migrant workers and security forces. In the city of Zhengzhou, in the center of the country, in a Foxconn factory, the group that assembles the iPhones of the North American Apple, episodes of violence between workers and security forces also broke out last week.
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