Chinese Newscaster Replaced During Live Broadcast for Criticizing 'Corrupt Officials' (Video)
The host of a popular Chinese online news show was pulled and replaced during a live broadcast after he went off-script and criticized government leaders.
Cui Jianbin, the host of Hubei Television's Longshang Channel -- a show normally dedicated to agricultural news -- was presenting a piece about the construction of a new luxury office building in Hubei's poor, rural Fangxian county, when he abruptly began improvising, blasting the "wasteful and corrupt authorities" for spending huge amounts of money on the extravagant project while ordinary citizens continue to struggle to get by in its shadow. "I want them to get as far away from here as possible," he added.
In an original recording of the segment that soon leaked to streaming video sites, Cui appears to be interrupted by someone offscreen and defiantly asks, "Can I finish speaking?" He then storms off the set and a new female anchor appears and is seen putting her mic in place as she hastily begins to present an unrelated news item.
The clip was trending on Sina Weibo (China's version of Twitter) on Wednesday and Thursday, with commentators calling the suspended broadcast a case study in broadcast censorship. Thousands tweeted support for Cui and expressed concern that he might lose his job over the incident.
Guo Jingming, the director of China's wildly popular Tiny Times film franchise, tweeted to his 31 million followers an endorsement of the newscaster: "Corrupt officials ought to be cursed. Support the host who tells the truth – dare to speak out!"
Cui later reassured his new fans via his own Weibo account, writing: "I really didn't expect this to become such a big deal. I thank everyone for their concern. My job has not been affected. But I was scolded for losing control of my emotions."
Hong Kong newspaper the South China Morning Post covered the incident and posted this short clip from the tail end of Cui's rant.