On Friday, Reuters published a special report that showed Amazon has been working with a propaganda arm of the Chinese government to win favor in Beijing.
The aim of the partnership between Amazon and the propaganda arm is for Amazon to bolster its presence in the growing and increasingly important Chinese market.
The documents showed that in 2018 Amazon put together a plan to win favor with the Chinese Communist Party (CPC) after the Chinese government delivered an edict disallowing reviews and customer ratings on any books sold in Amazon in the Chinese market.
The edict followed a negative review on Amazon’s Chinese site, Amazon.cn, of President Xi Jinping’s books, according to two sources interviewed by Reuters.
Amazon’s compliance with the Chinese government’s demands were only the beginning of the e-commerce giant’s plans to expand its business in the booming Chinese market. Due to a slew of restrictions and laws in China, many foreign companies have a difficult time accessing the Chinese marketplace.
The documents obtained by Reuters show the 2018 plan outlined several issues Amazon faced with the CPC, including, “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 [sic] on whether it is right or wrong.”
Amazon’s push to comply with the CPC’s demands may find the company in hot water with critics, as the documents seem to show a willingness to turn a blind eye to some of the human rights allegations against the CPC, including the alleged internment of one million Uyghurs in Xinjiang.
Amazon’s portal for purchasing Chinese literature, Chinabooks, sells books that push the CPC’s statement that the internment allegations brought by the UN are false, and that life in Xinjiang is pleasant.
According to Reuters, “The 2018 briefing document spells out the strategic stakes of the China Books project for Jay Carney, the global head of Amazon’s lobbying and public-policy operations, ahead of a trip he took to Beijing.
“Kindle has been operating in China in a policy grey [sic] area,” the document stated, and noted that Amazon was having difficulty obtaining a license to sell e-books in the country.” Amazon has not commented publicly on the Reuters report.
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: BLOOMBERG
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