Chinese television, broadcasting World Cup football matches, no longer shows images of spectators without masks, after these images angered Chinese people who can no longer take anti-Covid restrictions.
China is the last major economy to continue the practice of zero-Covid, with brutal confinements of neighborhoods or entire cities, long quarantines and massive testing campaigns. These restrictions are increasingly poorly accepted by the Chinese, and many demonstrations have taken place in recent days.
China “on the same planet”?
To avoid showing Chinese viewers the stadiums full of fans without masks, the CCTV sports channel systematically replaced, in the broadcast of the Japan-Costa Rica match, each image showing people too close by images of the players. or the stadium, or images of crowds taken from far enough away to make it impossible to distinguish faces. In contrast, the uncensored replay was available on the internet, including on Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok.
Tens of millions of people in major cities including Beijing, Guangzhou and Chongqing were in some form of lockdown on Sunday, as World Cup footage showed crowds with no restrictions. An open letter wondering if China was really “on the same planet” as Qatar and questioning China’s anti-Covid policy has been buzzing in recent days on the very popular WeChat messenger, before being censored by the authorities. Hundreds of people demonstrated on Sunday, notably in Beijing and Shanghai, to protest against the anti-Covid policy, in a rare display of anger vis-à-vis the state.