In China, their days are numbered

For those getting het up about Delhi Police personnel conducting raids and confiscating laptops and mobile phones of journalists associated with a news portal, relax. Instead of worrying about First World things like ‘media freedom’ when pertaining to suspected links of media organisations with ‘Chinese sources’, thank the good lord that we are not in China itself. Take the far more ‘genuinely absurd’ case of the photograph of two Chinese athletes at the ongoing Asian Games in Hangzhou hugging after a race being censored by the authorities there. Any community sensitivities hurt? No. The image too indecent for members of a nanny state? Not that either. The photo was washed out from social media and news outlets because the two Chinese Women’s 100 m hurdles runners can be seen in the image with their lane numbers – ultimate gold winner Lin Yuwei and Wu Yanni – 6 and 4, respectively. ‘So?’ you naive, non-Chinese onlooker may say. It turns out that the numbers 6 and 4 can be construed as a reference to June 4 of the year 1989, the day of the Tiananmen Square crackdown. And, it turns out that that is exactly how Chinese authorities chose to construe the photo.

But if seeing phantoms everywhere isn’t enough, Wu, who finished second, was later disqualified for a false start. Instead, the silver medal went to India’s Jyothi Yarraji (lane 5).


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