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Paralympics speech, Premier League: China’s TV censors solidarity with Ukraine

Paralympics Speech, Premier League
China’s TV censors solidarity with Ukraine

So far, China has abstained from voting at the United Nations when it comes to Ukraine. Russia’s powerful neighbor is neutral. But the behavior of Chinese state television suggests the direction in which neutrality could tip.

The President of the International Paralympic Committee, Andrew Parsons, was partially censored by Chinese state television during his impassioned “message of peace” at the opening of the Winter Paralympics in Beijing. His speech was not translated in full and rather paraphrased. Important sentences like: “I am appalled by what is happening in the world right now” and “The 21st century is a time for dialogue and diplomacy, not war and hatred” were missing. Parsons did not name Russia and Ukraine.

The original sound was suddenly turned off so that the discrepancy would not be noticed by the English-speaking listener. Because of the truncation, the translator, who obviously had a speech in front of him, also recited parts that Parsons had not yet said. To get back in sync, the translator paused unusually long, although Parsons continued talking.

Nonetheless, Chinese viewers learned other key messages from his speech, such as that his committee strives for a better and more inclusive world – free from discrimination, hatred and ignorance. Parsons was also correctly quoted as saying that Paralympic athletes know that the opponent is not an enemy and that togetherness brings us further.

As a “strategic partner” of Russia, China stands alongside President Vladimir Putin. Beijing has not condemned the invasion and even backs Russia’s justification for the war, criticizing the US and NATO’s eastward expansion. China’s head of state and party leader Xi Jinping had also courted Putin as the guest of honor at the opening of the Winter Olympics in Beijing on February 4, while other countries such as the United States had politically boycotted the celebration because of its criticism of China.

China’s position in Russia’s war against Ukraine is also becoming clear on another level in sport. The Chinese TV rights holder for the English Premier League is reportedly not broadcasting the games at the weekend. The background is therefore planned statements of solidarity for Ukraine, as the BBC reported.

Will the Bundesliga be broadcast?

The top English football league announced a “show of solidarity” for the people of Ukraine for all games this week. “The Premier League and our clubs wholeheartedly reject Russia’s actions,” it said in a statement.

Teams and stadium-goers have been asked to take part in a “moment of reflection and solidarity” before matches. In addition, the captains of the 20 Premier League teams are to wear armbands in the colors of the Ukrainian flag, blue and yellow. The colors will also appear on stadium screens and in logos and profiles on TV screens.

The German Football League (DFL) could also be affected by the virtual boycott of Chinese television. It will also show solidarity with the Ukraine again this weekend and for this purpose it has, among other things, shown the logo of the Bundesliga and the second division as a sign of solidarity in the national colors of the Ukraine.

China has so far abstained from votes in United Nations bodies on resolutions condemning Russian action in Ukraine. However, the decision not to broadcast the Premier League games should be interpreted as taking sides with Moscow.

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