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Reports: China Censored Pence's Debate Comments, Resumed Feed When Harris Talked

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Chinese censors blocked the country’s viewers from seeing or hearing Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday during Pence’s denunciation of China for its role in failing to stop the coronavirus pandemic, according to multiple news reports.

The censorship was first noted by Nathan VanderKlippe, a Beijing correspondent for Canada’s Globe and Mail, who tweeted what China’s viewers saw once Pence began speaking.

“China censored Pence’s comments on China. Signal returned when Harris began talking again,” VanderKlippe said.

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“What it looks like when China censors a vice-presidential debate after a question about China is asked — and then lifts the blackout when conversation appears set to move on,” he said in a follow-up tweet.

The broadcast resumed when the speaker changed and the Democratic vice presidential candidate, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, answered the question she and Pence were asked about America’s relationship with China, according to the New York Post.

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According to Newsweek, the censorship was also reported by the Australian Associated Press.

The censored comments reflected President Donald Trump’s position that China failed the global community in its response to the coronavirus.

“China is to blame for the coronavirus, and President Trump is not happy about it,” Pence said during the debate.

“He’s made that very clear, made it clear again today. China and the World Health Organization did not play straight with the American people. They did not let our personnel into China to get information on the coronavirus until the middle of February,” the vice president said.

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“Fortunately,” he said, “President Trump, in dealing with China from the outset of this administration, standing up to China that had been taking advantage of America for decades in the wake of Joe Biden’s cheerleading for China, President Trump made that decision before the end of January to suspend all travel from China.

“And again, the American people deserve to know, Joe Biden opposed President Trump’s decision to suspend all travel from China. He said it was ‘hysterical.’ He said it was ‘xenophobic.'”

Chinese viewers heard none of that.

The censoring of Pence “shows there is a great deal of sensitivity about this issue,” said James Griffiths, author of “The Great Firewall of China,” according to The Globe and Mail.

“Beijing is presumably concerned about the administration taking an even harder line on China in the wake of Trump’s infection. We’ve seen coverage of his diagnosis being heavily controlled on Chinese social media and in state-run publications, so the censors likely wanted to make sure they could shape any potential statement by Pence, without having it broadcast live,” Griffith said.

Dali Yang, a political scientist at the University of Chicago, had a different perspective.

“The censorship is a nuisance that serves to remind people of the existence of these apparatchiks whose role and existence rests on interrupting the TV programming for a very select group of people,” he said.

Elsewhere in the debate, Harris had accused the Trump administration of losing the trade war with China.

“Lost the trade war with China? Joe Biden never fought it,” Pence said.

“Joe Biden has been a cheerleader for Communist China over the last several decades,” he said. “And again, Senator Harris, you’re entitled to your opinion, you’re not entitled to your own facts. When Joe Biden was vice president, we lost 200,000 manufacturing jobs and President Obama said they were never coming back. He said we needed a magic wand to bring them back.

“In our first three years, after we cut taxes, rolled back regulation, unleashed American energy, this administration saw 500,000 manufacturing jobs created, and that’s exactly the kind of growth we’re going to continue to see as we bring our nation through this pandemic.”

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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