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Western brands blurry on Chinese TV

Chinese television stations have blurred the logos of Western brands in their programs, in support of the Xinjiang cotton campaign in China.

The move has delayed some broadcasts as post-production editors censor everything from t-shirts to shoes.

Western retailers are facing a backlash in China after expressing concern over the alleged use of forced labor by Uyghur minorities in cotton production.

Beijing denies it, and in recent days many brands have faced boycotts.

There was massive outrage online, and celebrities publicly severed ties with Western brands and expressed support for Xinjiang cotton.

And now popular TV shows are also rushing to show their support. But it resulted in a lot of unintentional hilarity.

Episodes of popular variety shows like Sisters Who Make Waves now make singers and actors feel like they are floating on the clouds, thanks to their fuzzy shoes.

The blur treatment was taken a step further on the Chuang 2021 reality show, as contestants wore clothing bearing head-to-toe Western logos.

But one of the hardest shows to censor was probably the Youth With You reality show competition, given the sheer number of applicants.

The production company behind the show, iQiyi, posted a notice on March 25 saying an upcoming episode had to be delayed, though it didn’t give a reason.

Two days later, however, viewers immediately noticed that the brand’s logos had been blurred on the t-shirts of more than 50 people.

What is the background to all of this?

The cotton dispute erupted after the United States and other Western governments stepped up pressure on China for alleged human rights violations in the northwestern Xinjiang region.

The Xinjiang cotton campaign began last month when Chinese state media and internet users singled out H&M in a statement made last year, and quickly spread to many other brands.

Some companies’ online stores are blocked and their stores have disappeared from some digital cards.

Other brands involved in the controversy include Nike, Adidas and Puma – all members of the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), a non-profit group promoting sustainable cotton production.

The group said in October that it had suspended operations in Xinjiang as well as the licensing of cotton in the region, citing allegations and “growing risks” of forced labor.

In December, the BBC published an investigation based on new research showing that China was forcing hundreds of thousands of minorities, including Uyghurs, to manually labor in Xinjiang’s cotton fields.

‘The poor video editors’

Aside from all the social media jokes, many users also confessed that they “felt sorry” for the post-production, with one user of the Weibo microblogging platform commenting, “They worked really hard. I don’t think they can get any. sleep these days. “

Others have created their own versions.

This is just the latest example of the brutal blurring of television programming in China.

Hip-hop culture, tattoos, and cleavage have all been censored in the past.

In 2019, a decision by a popular Chinese video streaming platform to censor the ears of actors wearing earrings sparked a heated debate online.

Many took to social media at the time to claim that censorship was driven by a desire to protect “traditional” gender roles.

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