Putin Hits on China’s First Lady, Censors Go Wild
State broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) caught the whole encounter on video. Peng and Putin cut small figures from the camera’s distant perch across the vast Water Cube, but the CCTV commentator had no trouble making out their identities. She remarked upon Putin’s chivalrous gesture just moments later, saying, “Putin has just placed his coat around Peng Liyuan’s body.” Major Chinese news outlets including web giant Sina and Phoenix Media quickly posted the video, which also began circulating on Chinese social media. The encounter even spawned a short-lived hashtag, “Putin Gives Peng Liyuan His Coat,” on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like microblogging site.
But that was when the censors kicked in. Within hours of posting the video, Chinese news sites had already pulled it off their sites, and censors scrubbed it from social media sites.
China’s president Xi Jinping has been on an anti-corruption crusade since taking office. The net nannies there don’t want to give anyone the idea that Mme Peng and Putin are more than just casual acquaintances.
Only in China.