Soccer fans in China have been watching a skewed version of the game — and of reality — as the Chinese government scrambles to keep them from seeing the massive, maskless crowds at the World Cup tournament in Qatar while its citizens are in the streets protesting the nation’s tyrannical “zero-Covid” policies.
While FIFA has ensured that every other nation is receiving the same live feed of the games, China’s state broadcaster, CCTV, has been using a 30-second delay to cut out close-up shots of the maskless many in favor of images less likely to inflame their already furious population.
“During a live broadcast of Sunday’s group game between Japan and Costa Rica, state broadcaster CCTV Sports replaced close-up shots of maskless fans waving flags with images of players, officials or the football stadium,” the South China Morning Post reports. “Broadcasters had already taken action to cut out crowd shots, doing exactly the same for the game between Australia and Tunisia, a move that was quickly picked up by social media.”
On Twitter, Mark Dreyer, “China Sports Insider,” did a side-by-side comparison that leaves no room for doubt: The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) does not want its citizens to see that the rest of the world has moved on from the pandemic.
“This is amazing,” he tweeted. “Due to the backlash from Chinese fans seeing unmasked crowds in Qatar, Chinese TV is now replacing live crowds shots during games and instead cutting to close-ups of players and coaches.”
This is amazing. Due to the backlash from Chinese fans seeing unmasked crowds in Qatar, Chinese TV is now replacing live crowds shots during games and instead cutting to close-ups of players and coaches. pic.twitter.com/vg0qozUawc
— Mark Dreyer (@DreyerChina) November 27, 2022
East Asian Correspondent Bill Birtles also noticed the manipulation.
Here’s the Canadian goal from the same match. The int’l feed everyone else gets shows fans close up. CCTV switches out those shots with feeds of coaches or wide shots. Watched 2 games – very obvious. It’s imperfect though – one cheering fans shot snuck through in the replay: pic.twitter.com/yo7oVUJ2nU
— Bill Birtles (@billbirtles) November 27, 2022
As BizPac Review reported, thousands of Chinese have, in a rare display of united defiance, taken to the streets of Shanghai, Beijing, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing, and other cities to protest the CCP’s devastating lockdowns.
Following a high-rise apartment fire in Urumqi in the Xinjiang region that killed 10 people who were reportedly locked in due to COVID measures, China’s citizens exploded, even calling for the end to the CCP and for Chinese President Xi Jinping to step down.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) November 27, 2022
Urumqi, home to many of the nation’s persecuted Uyghurs, has been on lockdown for the past three months.
Video of the horrific fire quickly appeared on social media.
“Because of the #covid #lockdown, fire truck couldn’t get closer & people were locked inside & couldn’t escape,” reported Jennifer Zeng. “#CCP says 10 killed, but it is widely believed that death toll is over 20.”
Nov 23, a fire broke out in Urumqi's Jixiang Yuan district. Because of the #covid #lockdown, fire truck couldn’t get closer & people were locked inside & couldn’t escape. #CCP says 10 killed, but it is widely believed that death toll is over 20. That’s 1 reason for today’s riots. pic.twitter.com/Fdt3sQPC8T
— Jennifer Zeng 曾錚 (@jenniferzeng97) November 25, 2022
“The latest figure says 44 were burnt to death, including a 3 y/o kid,” she stated in an updated tweet. “That’s one of the reasons for today’s protests.”
On Nov 23, when a fire broke out in #Urumqi , people’s doors were locked from outside. Fire truck couldn’t get closer either( see my previous tweet). The latest figure says 44 were burnt to death, including a 3 y/o kid. That’s one of the reasons for today’s protests. pic.twitter.com/s4E0JHk4wQ
— Jennifer Zeng 曾錚 (@jenniferzeng97) November 25, 2022
The images were enough to spark what is now being called the “White Paper Revolution.”
“After three years of harsh lockdowns that have left people confined in their homes for weeks at a time, the Xinjiang fire appears to have finally broken through the Chinese public’s ability to tolerate the harsh measures,” the Associated Press reported.
It is the “biggest uprising since Tiananmen Square,” the Daily Mail reports.
“The protests expose the growing mood of frustration after almost three years of restrictions in the only major country in the world still fighting Covid using the outdated weapons of mass lockdowns and regular testing,” the outlet states.
“The White Paper Revolution is an unprecedented uprising against the draconian covid lockdowns of the CCP,” tweeted Jack Posobiec, who speaks fluent Mandarin. “The people [of] China join freedom fighters the world over who have fought against tyrannical covid policies and the monsters who pushed them.”
Protestors have been subjected to beatings and pepper spray, a move Posobiec described as an “old tactic” of the CCP.
“Everyone thinks that Chinese people are afraid to come out and protest, that they don’t have any courage,” said one Urumqi protester, according to the Daily Mail. “I also thought this way. But then when I went there, I found that the environment was such that everyone was very brave.”
Amnesty International has gotten involved, calling on Beijing to allow peaceful protest.
“The tragedy of the Urumqi fire has inspired remarkable bravery across China,” said Hana Young, deputy regional director of Amnesty International. ‘These unprecedented protests show that people are at the end of their tolerance for excessive Covid-19 restrictions.”
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