World Cup, China censors images of fans without a mask

The Chinese state broadcaster CCTV Sports is removing close-up shots of fans who do not wear the anti-Covid mask during the World Cup in Qatar from the air (LIVEBLOG – THE SPECIAL). Only shots of the crowd in the distance were shown by the broadcaster, without zooming in on individual faces, to prevent further protests from breaking out against the harsh restrictions against the pandemic (LIVEBLOG). During the live broadcast of Sunday’s group match between Japan and Costa Rica, CCTV replaced close-up shots of maskless fans with images of players, officials or the football stadium.

The clashes

In recent days, China has been reliving the tensions linked to the increase in Coronavirus infections, after millions of people have been forced into lockdown again. A move, therefore, by the regime to avoid further highlighting the flaws in the “zero Covid” policy, a very rigid system of health measures that are sparking street protests between demonstrators and the police, in Beijing, Guangzhou and Chongqing. An open letter was released on the popular messaging app WeChat to question anti-Covid policies: the text asked whether China is “on the same planet” as Qatar. The letter, which appeared on Tuesday, was then removed by the same administrators from the platform.