State-run China Central TV was prepared to provide live coverage of the closing ceremony of the Chinese Communist Party’s 18th Congress on Nov. 14, but not a single photo or video clip of the conference proceedings was broadcast. Coverage of events inside the Great Hall of the People was rumored to have been blocked because of scuffling among the delegates that went on inside.
More than 1,000 journalists, from China and abroad, were kept waiting outside the hall for four hours. By the time the journalists were allowed to enter, the meeting was almost over, and they could only see the delegates applauding.
The CCTV broadcasters filled the time with celebrity gossip. The name lists of the newly elected members should have been publicized earlier in the day, but it was not until 6 p.m. that CCTV announced the more-than-200-member name list of the new Central Committee, the alternate members of the Central Committee, and the members of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.
Netizen Zhang Hongliang commented on his blog: “The so-called live broadcast of the closing ceremony by CCTV is interesting. There was not a single video of the meeting. It was all commentators talking. I guess there has never been any other live broadcast like this one in human history.”
Liu Ruidong, Executive Director of Hong Kong Merily International, provided a reason for the strange broadcast. He said on his Sina Weibo blog, “After the meeting, there was a scuffle and reporters were not allowed to take pictures.” His post was quickly copied by the users of Weibo, China’s Twitter-like service.
Hong Kong’s Min Pao newspaper reported the delay in the announcement of the new leaders was caused by fighting after the voting.
The term “fighting at the meeting hall” was blocked on Weibo.
Netizens said the fighting was between the supporters of former Party leader Jiang Zemin and the outgoing Party leader Hu Jintao.
Tonny Huo wrote in his blog: “Important news! Because the election result is different from their original plan, someone demanded another round of ballot. In the end, there was a fight going on.”
A blogger in Beijing who named him/herself “five miles of green mountain” said: “The meeting attendees had disputes over the result. They are still wrestling at this very moment when I post this message.”
A blogger registered as “pmcpmc” said more specifically, “Hu and Jiang had a fight.”
Weibo posts often appear to be used by one side or another inside the regime to spread information, although whether insiders had a hand in the flurry of posts claiming to know what happened in the Great Hall of the People is not clear. So far, none of the journalists who were kept cooling their heels outside the meeting room for hours has reported what really happened.
Read the original Chinese article.