Amazon Partnered With China Propaganda Arm
Friday December 17, 2021. 09:05 PM , from Slashdot
Amazon bent over backwards to sell kindle and cloud services in China, Reuters reported on Friday. The company attempted to curry favor with Beijing by promoting President Xiâ(TM)s books as 'best sellers,' censoring reviews of propaganda films and providing a dissident's IP address to authorities, the report said. From the report: Amazon was marketing a collection of President Xi Jinping's speeches and writings on its Chinese website about two years ago, when Beijing delivered an edict, according to two people familiar with the incident. The American e-commerce giant must stop allowing any customer ratings and reviews in China. A negative review of Xi's book prompted the demand, one of the people said. 'I think the issue was anything under five stars,' the highest rating in Amazon's five-point system, said the other person. Ratings and reviews are a crucial part of Amazon's e-commerce business, a major way of engaging shoppers. But Amazon complied, the two people said. Currently, on its Chinese site Amazon.cn, the government-published book has no customer reviews or any ratings. And the comments section is disabled.
Amazon's compliance with the Chinese government edict, which has not been reported before, is part of a deeper, decade-long effort by the company to win favor in Beijing to protect and grow its business in one of the world's largest marketplaces. An internal 2018 Amazon briefing document that describes the company's China business lays out a number of 'Core Issues' the Seattle-based giant has faced in the country. Among them: 'Ideological control and propaganda is the core of the toolkit for the communist party to achieve and maintain its success,' the document notes. 'We are not making judgement on whether it is right or wrong.' That briefing document, and interviews with more than two dozen people who have been involved in Amazon's China operation, reveal how the company has survived and thrived in China by helping to further the ruling Communist Party's global economic and political agenda, while at times pushing back on some government demands.
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