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State TV broadcasts man throwing shoe at Wen

Chinese state television on Tuesday aired in full footage of a man hurling his shoes at China's premier Wen Jiabao during a trip to Britain

world Updated: Feb 03, 2009 20:59 IST

Chinese state television on Tuesday aired in full footage of a man hurling his shoes at China's premier Wen Jiabao during a trip to Britain - an unusual departure from official media's practice of suppressing embarrassing events as print and broadcast outlets had done earlier in the day.

CCTV, along with the official news agency and newspapers, initially reported the event obliquely, referring only to an "incident" or describing Britain's apology without giving details of the protest. But unedited footage of the event was shown on CCTV's main evening news report on Tuesday night.

China tightly controls its media and often suppresses news seen as unflattering to the Communist Party and state leaders. It also monitors and censors the Internet, although the sheer volume of online content - the country has 298 million Web users - makes it far harder to paint over bad news.

Media observers say the sharing of information online may be prompting official media to cover news it would have formerly hidden.

In today's CCTV broadcast, the camera remains fixed on Premier Wen, but later cuts to the protester being removed from the hall at Cambridge University. Shouts by the protester - who has yet to be identified - and the sound of the shoe hitting the stage can be heard. Wen pauses and then says: "Teachers and students, this kind of dirty trick cannot stop the friendship between the Chinese and the British people." The remark was greeted with applause.

The protest was an echo of another in which an Iraqi reporter threw his shoes at then-US President George W Bush in December - covered widely not only in China but around the world.