CNN airs live footage of its reporting on tennis star being censored in China

Mario Tama/Getty Images

CNN aired for its audience in the U.S. live footage of the network being censored by Chinese officials as its journalists reported on the case of Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai. 

“I want to explain to our viewers what’s happing on our screen right now,” John Berman, host of “New Day,” said Monday during a segment on Peng.

“They can see an actual live feed of this broadcast in China, but it’s all color bars and it went to color bars the minute you started talking,” Berman told correspondent Will Ripley. 

“I’ve lost count the number of times over the last eight years in Asia covering China, of how many times CNN’s coverage of controversial issues has been censored,” Ripley responded. “It used to go to straight black, now they’ve upgraded and went to color bars, but nonetheless it is a live real-time example of of the censorship that’s happening in the mainland.” 

Peng apparently went missing earlier this month after accusing a high-ranking Chinese official of sexual assault. Conversations about her allegations were reportedly blocked from China’s internet and much of her online presence appeared to have been scrubbed.

She resurfaced this week, with the organizer of a tennis tournament in Beijing posting photos of Peng.

“They scrub Peng Shuai from the internet,” Ripley confirmed. “They’re certainly not talking about this on television and even international networks, they have an army of censors, waiting to push that button the minute we start talking about this story.” 

Peng’s case has galvanized the international community, with several foreign leaders and President Biden demanding an investigation into the tennis star’s apparent disappearance.

“I want to be clear where the United States stands,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said. “Any report of sexual assault should be investigated, and we support a woman’s ability to speak out and seek accountability, whether here or around the world.”

CNN reported that a number of photos purporting to be of Peng were published by Chinese government officials on state-sanctioned television. 

The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) said on Monday a recent video call between Peng and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) did not fully address its concerns about her well-being. 

Lawmakers from both parties on Capitol Hill and other critics on social media expressed outrage at the apparent censoring of CNN by Chinese officials.


Tags CNN Jen Psaki Joe Biden Peng Shuai Ted Cruz Television in the United States Tennis players Tom Malinowski

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