Mainland Chinese cannot view Premier League matches on television this weekend. The program has been determined to show support for Ukraine.
In a statement on March 2nd, the Premier League said it “wholeheartedly rejected” the Russian invasion, promising that there would be various ways the organization would use to express its support across this weekend’s 10-match program.
According to the BBC, team captains would don Ukrainian armbands and pay a moment of solitary silence before the matches began. Stadium screens would also read “Football Stands Together.”
The league stated, “We call for peace and our thoughts are with all those who have been impacted.”
Chinese broadcaster IQIYI Sports, a contract partner with the league, said the move had prompted it to terminate this weekend’s broadcast.
Just some weeks before the Russia-Ukraine conflict burst out, Beijing was still celebrating a “no limits” partnership with Moscow.
The blockage was not the first. In 2019, a match between Arsenal’s Premier League game and Manchester City was removed as then Arsenal team captain Mesut Özil blasted Beijing over the atrocities against Uighur Muslims.
The following year, Bloomberg reported that Chinese state media CCTV relegated English top-flight matches to less popular channels after the UK decided to exclude Huawei from its 5G network.
While Russia is under international sanctions and criticisms for launching a war with Ukraine, Beijing still refuses to term the conflict war and has refused to be a part of international powers that would sanction Moscow.