Peng Shuai disappearance: China caught censoring network’s live feed while discussing missing tennis star

CNN put China’s efforts to censor the growing controversy of the missing Chinese tennis superstar on full display. 

There has been an international outcry over the disappearance of Peng Shuai, who has not been seen in public ever since she accused a former member of the Communist Party’s ruling Standing Committee of sexual assault.

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While discussing the latest developments surrounding Shuai on “New Day,” CNN had a box on display labeled “live feed in China,” showing the network’s coverage on a slight delay from the American broadcast. 

But just moments in a report addressing Shuai, CNN’s live feed can be seen being cut, being replaced with color bars. 

“I want to explain to viewers what is happening on our screen right now because underneath your face, they can see a box which is the actual live feed of this broadcast in China but its all color bars,” CNN anchor John Berman told correspondent Will Ripley, who was reporting live from Taiwan. “It went to color bars the minute you started talking. So what’s going on here?”

“Chinese censors, John,” Ripley responded. “I have lost count over the last eight years here in Asia covering China of how many times of CNN’s coverage of controversial issues has been censored. It used to go to straight black. Now they’ve upgraded and they go to color bars.”

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“But nonetheless, it is a live, real-time example of the censorship that is happening in the mainland. They have scrubbed Peng Shuai from the internet. 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 that we start talking about this story, but it is not making the 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,” the CNN International correspondent added. 

FILE PHOTO: A file photo of China’s Peng Shuai serving during a match at the Australian Open on January 15, 2019. REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo/File Photo

FILE PHOTO: A file photo of China’s Peng Shuai serving during a match at the Australian Open on January 15, 2019. REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo/File Photo

Peng went missing on Nov. 2 after she publicly accused a former Chinese government senior official, Zhang Gaoli, of forcing her to have sex despite her refusals.

Her accusation on social media was removed within minutes and her disappearance sparked international outrage and concern aimed at the Chinese government. She resurfaced on Friday in photos circulated by an employee of Chinese state television. 

She also had a video call with Olympic officials who claimed that she is safe.  

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Peng “thanked the IOC for its concern about her well-being,” the International Olympic Committee said in a statement.

But her disappearance is still facing questions. Peng is just the latest person in China to go missing after criticizing the ruling party, with some people reappearing weeks or months later with little or no explanation.

Photos of Peng posted by the China Open on the Weibo social media service Sunday also made no mention of her disappearance. 

Fox News’ Emma Colton contributed to this report. 

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