Culture

Irish Eurovision entry censored on Chinese TV

Irish Eurovision entry censored on Chinese TV”

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which organizes the contest and distributes it to broadcasters around the world, said it had taken the action after Mango TV cut two acts in the first semifinal, broadcast on Tuesday.

Irish singer Ryan O'Shaughnessy's song, which featured a romantic dance number with two men, was heavily censored.

The depiction of a gay relationship falls foul of China's censorship rules, which classified homosexuality as "abnormal sexual behaviour" not fit for broadcasting back in 2016. The broadcaster also pixelated a rainbow flag waved during another performance.

In response to TV stills of censored rainbow flags, some users of Chinese network Weibo called for people to boycott Mango TV, which broadcast the first semi-final of Eurovision earlier this week.

MangoTV is owned by China's second most watched channel, state-run Hunan TV.

With both the countries having already qualified for Saturday night's live final, if China were granted airing rights then they'd cut out their entries again, which is something Eurovision organisers says isn't an option.

"This is not in line with the EBU's values of universality and inclusivity and our proud tradition of celebrating diversity through music", they said in a statement. Tattoos, hip-hop, and even the cartoon character Peppa Pig have all faced media purges in China recently.

Although "Eurovision is not widely popular in China", adds the paper, news of the censorship circulated around social media today. Mango TV and Hunan Broadcasting System did not answer Sixth Tone's phone calls. He said the number of LGBTI articles in Chinese press had fallen from 867 pieces in 2015 to 710 in 2016 and just 447 a year ago.

The Eurovision song contest started in 1956 and past year attracted more than 180 million viewers worldwide.

Ireland's O'Shaughnessy welcomed the decision, telling the BBC: 'I would like to welcome the decision by the EBU to do that because from the very start we have just said love is love.



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