Shanghai TV station postpones Covid spin show after backlash | China
A Shanghai state-run television channel has carried a broadcast that highlights the positive sides of the city’s response to an Omicron outbreak after an online backlash.
Shanghai Dragon Television, the city’s main television station which also broadcasts via satellite to Chinese audiences around the world, announced the decision on social media late Tuesday evening, hours after it came under fire online. Dragon TV said it welcomes “valuable feedback on our work”.
The pre-recorded show, which would pay tribute to Shanghai’s key workers as well as government leaders, had planned to feature some of China’s best-known celebrities, including Andy Lau and Wang Yibo. It was originally scheduled to air in prime time on Wednesday nights. Some Dragon TV staff said the program’s aim was to “inject positive energy” into the city’s nearly 26 million residents, who have been locked down.
But an online backlash ensued shortly after the show was announced. “We stay at home, we worry about not being able to grab food… we are constantly consumed every day and too many negative things are happening. At the moment, we have failed to fight the outbreak,” said one commentator.
They continued, “What is the significance of this special holiday, is it really for the people, is it really to honor the medical staff and volunteers? Do something real and I don’t care about the party. Please pay more attention to public opinion. Solve problems and do real things, don’t engage in such formality.
Images of people unable to buy food have spread across Chinese social media over the past fortnight as the city initially entered a phased and then full-scale lockdown. Residents have complained about the city’s handling of the outbreak and blamed authorities for a lack of preparedness.
Despite the severe restrictions, the number of Covid-19 infections continued to rise in the city. On Wednesday, Shanghai reported another 25,141 asymptomatic cases on Tuesday, up from 22,348 the day before. Symptomatic cases also rose, from 994 to 1,189, city officials said.
The situation in Shanghai and the ripple effect on neighboring cities has worried economists, who say the shutdowns have disrupted global supply chains. On Wednesday, dozens of producers of key electronic components suspended production at their facilities in Kunshan, home to one of the world’s largest electronics manufacturing centers.
Perhaps under pressure from online backlash, Dragon TV said in a late-night post on Tuesday that it would postpone the airing of the program. Yet despite the last-minute withdrawal, some people were still angry.
“Please ask Dragon TV to go live on the streets 24 hours a day: 1) Check who is driving up the prices. 2) Track where aid materials are sent, how many are sent and to whom? 3) How can lonely elderly and critically ill patients get out of the community to see a doctor,” one wrote.