The official Chinese translation of President Barack Obama's inauguration speech was missing his references to communism and dissent, while a live broadcast on state television on Wednesday quickly cut away to the anchor when the topic was mentioned.
The comments by the newly installed US president veered into politically sensitive territory for China's ruling Communist Party, which maintains a tight grip over the Internet and the entirely state-run media. Beijing tolerates little dissent and frequently decries foreign interference in its internal affairs.
At one point, Obama said earlier generations "faced down communism and fascism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions." He later addressed "those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent - know that you are on the wrong side of history."
The Chinese translation of the speech, credited to the Web site of the official China Daily newspaper, was missing the word "communism" in the first sentence. The paragraph with the sentence on dissent had been removed entirely.
The censored version was carried by the state-run Xinhua News Agency and posted on popular online portals Sina and Sohu. Another portal, Netease, used a version without the paragraph mentioning communism, but retaining the part about dissent.
The news channel of state broadcaster China Central Television broadcast the speech live early on Wednesday local time, but appeared caught off-guard by the statement about facing down communism.
The translator had no sooner said "fascism and communism" when the audio faded out from Obama's speech and cameras cut back to the studio anchor.