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Courting more controversy

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The NBA’s troubles continue in China. The latest kerfuffle for the basketball giant happened during a game streamed live by Tencent Sports, featuring the LA Lakers and the Miami Heat last Saturday. Coverage was suddenly halted by the broadcaster, which said the match did not “correspond to broadcasting standards” without elaborating further.

Media in Taipei speculated that the reason for the halt was that a man in the front row of the crowd was wearing a sweater featuring the Taiwanese flag. This is sensitive for mainland Chinese broadcasters, given that Beijing designates the island as a ‘renegade province’. Later highlights of the game – which was being watched by 25 million people in mainland China until coverage was terminated – tended to support the view that the flag was the reason Tencent pulled the plug. That’s because the highlights only showed the sporting action in the left half of the court, where the man’s sweater was not visible. The highlight reel didn’t follow the play into the right half of the court, however, as that’s where the sweater came into camera shot.


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