Written by CNN Staff Writer
Amid China’s ongoing state of siege, photos of CNN presenter Yang Lan, also known as Peng Shuai, could not be shared by many social media users this week.
Viewers searching for a photo of the CNN Chinese-language anchor on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, were met with a black bar.
CNN’s Yang Lan. Credit: CNN/Clive Brunskill
CNN has confirmed that its bureau is in China, but refuses to provide access to individual reporters in order to protect their privacy.
According to CNN spokesperson Alison Allport, the decision to censor images of anchors and photos came from the Beijing bureau.
“We strongly value our relationship with our viewers in China and do not want to impact the coverage. So, we have restricted access to images so that they are not published,” Allport told CNN in an emailed statement.
CNN’s Yang Lan. © CNN
Why the news channel blocks Yang Lan
“In this case, some content involving Yang Lan did appear online. We did not want to share photos of our colleagues,” she added.
As a general rule, CNN’s studio news in China is blocked or filtered from being broadcast in China, though tweets and retweets are visible to users in the country.
Weibo user Jhusson2004 told CNN in an email that he was blocked several times while searching for Yang Lan’s name earlier this week.
CNN host Wang Dajing, also known as Wang Gongquan, was blocked during a commercial break in his report earlier this month.
Other social media users have begun using a similar tactic to search photos of Yang Lan, clicking “hide” on images of the news anchor and “share this image” on related posts.
“CNN anchors are considered sacred for many people and banning them is a strong statement,” the user wrote.