Awkwardness ensued yesterday at the 2022 Baidu World Conference, a virtual event jointly organized by the Chinese technology giant and the official CCTV News, as Baidu’s dedicated live video channel for the event on WeChat was cut off early in the broadcast, and participants were told to migrate instead to CCTV.  

According to the media-related public account “Media Insights” (传媒见闻), Baidu had not registered the broadcasting event with the proper broadcasting authorities. Ordinarily, registration for major political, military, economic, social, cultural, sports, and other activities must be made at least five days prior to any planned live broadcast.

A post to Baidu’s official Weibo account at 9:53 AM on July 21 announces with a shedding tears emoji that the live broadcast of the 2022 Baidu World Conference has been cut off by WeChat and invites viewers over to CCTV.

The proper authority in Baidu’s case would likely have been the Beijing municipal office of the National Radio and Television Administration (NRTA), the ministry-level agency under the Central Propaganda Department that oversees television and radio, and now online broadcasts.

Shortly after the Baidu broadcast was interrupted, Zhang Jun (张军), a public relations executive at Tencent, announced in a WeChat friends group that the Baidu broadcast had been “urgently” restored.

The theme of the event was “Deepening AI innovation for social growth,” and according to state media, it showcased “eye-catching applications of artificial intelligence,” dealing with areas from autonomous driving to aerospace modeling.  

CMP Staff

The China Media Project

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