Skip to content

World Cup Fans Without Masks Pose Dilemma for Chinese TV Amid Protests

  • CCTV appears to be reducing footage of maskless crowds
  • Covid restrictions sparked protests in several Chinese cities
Fans during the FIFA World Cup match between Belgium and Morocco.

Fans during the FIFA World Cup match between Belgium and Morocco.

Photographer: Mustafa Yalcin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Footage of maskless fans packed into Qatar’s stadiums for the World Cup is putting China -- facing rising discontent over its continuing strict Covid protocols -- in a bind.

Footage reviewed by Bloomberg News and shared on social media appear to show state broadcaster China Central Television pulling back on footage of the stadium crowds compared to other international networks. While not removing them completely, CCTV often substitutes crowd close-ups with video of coaches, the team bench or anything other than the thousands of jubilant or despondent fans.