At Amazon, we found an effective way to avoid possible tensions with the Chinese government. While the e-commerce giant is offering Chinese President Xi Jinping’s latest book for sale, the American company has chosen to limit the rating system on the book’s page. Indeed, it is 5 stars or nothing.
As one of the world’s major markets, China has already demonstrated its ability to bend some of the world’s most powerful companies to uphold its ideals and / or regulations. For example, Microsoft gave in to pressure from Beijing and chose to shut down LinkedIn in the Middle Kingdom, in particular because of very strict rules concerning freedom of expression.
And lately it’s Amazon, which bowed down under the demands of the Chinese authorities. Indeed, our American colleagues at The Times tell us that the e-commerce giant has signed a rather astonishing agreement with the Chinese government. Since 2019, the platform has offered for sale the different volumes of “The Governance of China ”, political works written by Chinese President Xi Jinping himself.
When the 1st volume goes on sale in 2019, some negative reviews are obviously posted by readers and customers of Amazon. Only and as you can imagine, the Chinese leader is not really open to rave reviews. Quickly, the Chinese government decides to put pressure on Amazon to have these notices withdrawn.
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Amazon gives in to censorship at the behest of the Chinese government
As the Times reports, the American company has complied with the demands of the Chinese authorities. Thereby, Amazon will have to suspend the rating system as well as the comments section on all of the Chinese president’s works on Amazon.cn, the Chinese version of the platform. According to the newspaper, Amazon preferred to give in for “protect and develop its activity in one of the largest markets in the world ”.
In internal documents verified by Reuters in 2018, Amazon wrote: “Ecological control and propaganda are at the heart of the Communist Party’s toolbox to achieve and maintain its success. We do not pass judgment on whether it is good or bad ”. As said above, this is not the first time that China has threatened or applied pressure on large groups, whether to impose its regulations or to reach the countries of origin of these companies. In August 2020, the Chinese authorities had emptied the App Store of almost all of its apps to weaken the position of the apple brand in the country. And to avenge the passage of trade sanctions undertaken by Donald Trump against Huawei.