In the Ping Pong web series, the protagonist’s feet have been blurred. Photo: iQIYI
Chinese TV shows seem more and more blurry these days, and it’s not because of the slow internet connection.
The logos of global brands such as Nike, Adidas and PUMA are fading in entertainment broadcasts after Beijing launched a campaign against foreign companies that pledged to stop using cotton from Xinjiang.
A number of big fashion brands, including H&M, Nike and Adidas, have faced boycott calls in China since state media accused them of fabricating allegations of labor abuse in Xinjiang. , as part of the government’s latest efforts to counter growing criticism of its treatment of Muslim minorities.
These companies distanced themselves from Xinjiang cotton last year, following accusations by researchers and human rights groups that ethnic minorities in the region were forced to work in factories connected to the chains. global supply.
Beijing denies using forced labor and the state-backed boycotts have fueled nationalist outrage online.
Global brands, however, have extensive sponsorship agreements with China’s sports and entertainment industries.
Several prominent celebrities immediately cut ties with brands to show their support for the government, but for web shows that have already been produced, the cheapest way to avoid political risk is to cloud all logos.
Youth With You, a boy group contest show on iQIYI, delayed the release of its March 25 episode a day after state media began attacking global brands. When the show came out, all Adidas logos on competitor jerseys had been blurred.
In an iQIYI Ping Pong web series, the protagonist, a ping pong player, was seen training with fuzzy feet. It’s hard to tell what kind of sneakers he was wearing.
Many fans, accustomed to such censorship, thanked the editors for working hard to meet the last minute demands.
All entertainment programs must be approved by the government before they are broadcast, and streaming sites routinely scramble items they say might irritate censors, such as men’s earrings, shaped scarves. of hijab, rainbow flags and tattoos.
Compared to the entertainment industry, Chinese sports stars have largely remained silent about their ties to global brands.
Nike and Adidas have business relationships with renowned Chinese athletes and state sports teams. In an Olympic qualifying match on Thursday, the China women’s soccer team wore Nike jerseys as they played against South Korea in Seoul.
It’s unclear whether teams will still be able to use the brands’ products at the Tokyo Olympics.
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