On Monday, Nov. 22 on CNN’s New Day program, during a segment in which news anchors in the United States were listening to their correspondent’s report in Taipei on the disappearance of tennis player Peng Shuai, the same CNN program showed how the Chinese Communist regime censored their live broadcast to mainland China.
If there were still any doubts that the Chinese do not have free access to information and that sensitive topics have ‘one voice’ – that of the Chinese Communist Party – this video should put those doubts to rest.
The video, posted by Nora Neus, a CNN producer, describes the moment of censorship:
“RIGHT NOW: CNN’s China broadcast cuts out as @willripleyCNN reports on Peng Shuai.
“It’s a live, live example of the censorship that’s happening on the mainland…they have an army of censors waiting to push that button the moment we start talking about this story.”
Who is Peng Shuai
In early November, Peng Shuai, considered the world’s top doubles tennis player, used her Weibo account, one of the few social media allowed but censored in China, to record a video accusing former vice-premier Zhang Gaoli of sexually abusing her.
Her account was removed soon after, but her story went viral and accumulated more than 32 million views, given the tennis player’s high profile.
Big names in tennis such as Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, and Serena Williams expressed their concern. They called for Peng Shuai to be found alive in statements to the press, putting more international pressure on the Chinese communist dictatorship.
At the same time, the World Tennis Association (WTA) threatened to pull the lucrative tennis tournaments from mainland China if the tennis player was not found alive.
To dispel doubts about Peng Shuai’s well-being, CCP propaganda media began publishing photos and videos of the tennis player eating in restaurants with family and friends or “happy” photos at her home.
However, according to CNN’s Will Ripley’s reporting, the CCP failed to convince anyone with its old tactics.
“The WTA says they simply don’t have evidence right now that Peng Shuai is not being silenced, and that she is not able to speak freely… they say none of the proof provided by Chinese state media John, gives them any comfort that she is actually in a position that her interests are being best represented,” the correspondent explained, reports Breitbart.
The anchor from the U.S. studios paused the report to explain to the audience that the image under Will’s face, a TV screen with colored bars, was the live broadcast of the program to mainland China and that it went to colored bars as soon as the report on Peng Shuai began and asked Will to explain what was going on.
“Chinese censors John. I’ve lost count over the last eight years here in Asia covering China of how many times CNN coverage of controversial issues has been censored,” exclaimed the journalist, who quipped, “It used to go to straight black now they upgraded to color bars. But, nonetheless, it is a live real-time example of the censorship that is happening in the mainland.”
The tennis player’s disappearance also brought new scrutiny on the International Olympic Committee, which organized the Olympic Games in Beijing next year, widely seen as a validation of China’s communist dictatorship.
However, in their recent statements to the press, IOC officials clarified that while they consider Peng Shuai’s case to be serious, they have no plans to cancel the event.
At the end of his report, the correspondent explained how censorship of information works in China but that this time, he thinks, the CCP will not get its way.
“They scrubbed Peng Shuai from the internet. They’re certainly not talking about this on television. And even international networks,” Ripley said.
“They have an army of censors waiting to push that button the minute we start talking about this story. But it is not making this story go away. The pressure is still mounting on Beijing from the outside, because of the efforts of journalists around the world, and also diplomats wanting Peng Shuai to be able to speak her truth.”