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China’s State TV Deletes Footage of Maskless World Cup Audience

China’s draconian COVID-19 control measures have led to nationwide street protests. The ongoing World Cup contributed to Chinese people’s anger as the state TV broadcasted the larges crowds who were in the game audience and who wore no mask. Now, Beijing is even cutting out close-ups of unmasked soccer fans in Qatar.

Agence France-Presse reported that during the live broadcast of the group stage match between Japan and Costa Rica, the sports channel of state broadcaster CCTV (China Central Television) Sports replaced close-ups of unmasked fans waving flags with images of individual players, officials or long shots of the stadium.

As tens of millions of people in major cities including Beijing, Guangzhou and Chongqing are still under some form of lockdown, the images of a happy and raucous maskless World Cup audience presents a stark contrast, angering Chinese netizens.

On November 22, a WeChat post questioning whether “China is on the same planet as Qatar” was swiftly removed from the cyberspace.

Source: Central News Agency (Taiwan), November 27, 2022