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Paralympic Committee asks Beijing why anti-war speech censored

Agence France-Presse
Paralympic Committee asks Beijing why anti-war speech censored
Andrew Parsons, president of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), speaks at a press conference in Beijing on March 2, 2022.
WANG ZHAO / AFP

BEIJING — The International Paralympic Committee on Saturday said it has asked China's state broadcaster to explain the apparent censorship of its president's forceful anti-war speech at the opening of the Beijing Winter Paralympics.

IPC president Andrew Parsons used his Friday night platform to strongly denounce war, saying the "Olympic truce for peace" must not be violated.

"The 21st Century is a time for dialogue and diplomacy, not war and hate," he told the audience at the capital's National Stadium.

Parsons added he was "horrified" by current world events while stopping short of specifically mentioning close Chinese partner Russia or its ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

But his condemnation of war was not translated into Chinese on air by state broadcaster CCTV.

At one point, the broadcaster also appeared to lower the volume of his speech.

"We are aware of reports and have asked CCTV for an explanation," IPC spokesman Craig Spence told AFP on Saturday.

"We are still awaiting a response 24 hours on."

Beijing has been treading a cautious diplomatic line on the conflict, avoiding calling it a war and refusing to condemn the actions of Moscow, with which it only last month touted a "no limits" friendship.

In the staging area ahead of Friday's opening ceremony, Ukrainian athletes unveiled banners that said "stop war" and chanted "peace for Ukraine" as some shed tears while receiving hugs from competitors from other nations.

A day later, it was revealed that Chinese rights holders would not be airing English Premier League football matches on the weekend, with games expected to show solidarity with Ukraine.

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