abridged in translation

State-run China Central Television was broadcasting President Barack Obama's inauguration speech live—an extraordinary event in a country that usually adds a delay of several seconds to every broadcast, just in case—when President Obama said: “Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism….”

The simultaneous interpreter proceeded smoothly with her translation but her voice faded out with the rest of the President’s sentence. The picture cut from the Capitol to an awkwardly smiling news anchor who seemed unprepared for the camera to return to her. Apparently, she turned to a reporter in the studio for comment on President Obama’s economic challenges. The cutaway seemed to misfire. While many Chinese may not have noticed, the more alert were soon commenting on the Internets. One said: “Why did CCTV do this? Too timid.” Replays of the moment are available on YouTube:

:bbc news; youtube