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Amazon supports China’s propaganda arm to gain business market in china

Amazon's compliance with the Chinese government edict 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.

Amazon.com Inc was marketing a collection of speeches and writings by President Xi Jinping on its Chinese website about two years ago, when Beijing issued an order, according to two people familiar with the incident. The American e-commerce giant should stop approving any customer ratings and reviews in China.

A negative review of Xi’s book has created a need, says one of the people. “I think the problem was anything less than five stars,” the highest rating on Amazon’s five-point plan, says one person.

Copies of the book

Ratings and reviews are an integral part of Amazon’s e-commerce business, a great way to attract customers. But Amazon complied, the two people said. Currently, on its Chinese site Amazon.cn, a government-published book has no customer reviews or ratings. And half of the comments are closed.

Amazon’s compliance with Chinese government law, which has never been reported before, is part of a company’s ten-year-old effort to win favor from Beijing to protect and grow its business in one of the world’s largest markets.

Amazon’s 2018 Inner Index describing China’s corporate business sets out the “Core Issues” the Seattle giant has faced in the country. Among them: “The control of ideas and propaganda is central to the collection of tools for the Communist Party to achieve and maintain its success,” notes the document. “We are not judging whether it is right or wrong.”

That brief document, along with interviews with more than a dozen people who participated in the Amazon operation in China, reveals how the company survived and progressed in China by helping advance the ruling party’s global economic and political agenda, while sometimes backtracking. in other government requirements.

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At the core of this strategy, internal content and interviews show, Amazon has partnered with Chinese propaganda arm to create a commercial site for the American company site, Amazon.com – a project known as China Books. The business – which eventually provided more than 90,000 commercial publications – has not yet made much money. But the document shows that Amazon has seen it as important in gaining support in China as the company expands the Kindle electronic-book device, cloud-computing and e-commerce businesses.

The 2018 2018 article outlines the strategies of the China Books project by Jay Carney, Amazon’s global head of advocacy and public policy activities, ahead of his trip to Beijing. “Kindle was operating in China in the policy area,” the statement said, noting that Amazon had difficulty obtaining a license to sell e-books in the country.

“An important protection factor” in the licensing issue for the Chinese government “is the Chinabooks project,” the statement said.

The article also noted: “The Amazon.com/China books project has received widespread recognition among Chinese regulators.”

LIFE IN XINJIANG

The books cover a wide range of political topics, such as Chinese-language books, cookbooks and bedtime stories for children. But they also include titles that enhance the official line of the Communist Party.

One book highlights the life of Xinjiang, in which United Nations experts say that China added Uyghurs to Uyghurs in a series of camps. The book – “Incredible Xinjiang: Stories of Passion and Heritage” – discusses a local online comedy show. The book quotes Uyghur character “country bumpkin” as saying that nationality “is not a problem” there. That is similar to Beijing’s position, which has denied any wrongdoing to minority groups.

Other sources describe China’s war against the COVID-19 epidemic, which began in the Chinese city of Wuhan, with heroic names. One is entitled “News of Courage and Determination: Wuhan in Coronavirus Lockdown.” One begins with Xi’s comment: “Our success so far has also demonstrated the strength of the leadership of the CPC (Chinese Communist Party) and Chinese Socialism.”

The state-owned company that deals with Amazon in Chinese books, China International Book Trading Corp, or CIBTC, told Reuters that the business was “a business relationship between the two businesses.” China’s National Press and Publication Administration, or NPPA, the arm of state propaganda for the Amazon with which it has an alliance, has not commented.

Responding to questions, Amazon said it “complies with all applicable laws and regulations, wherever we operate, and China is the same.” He added that “as a bookseller, we believe that providing written access and diversity of ideas is important. That includes books that others may find unacceptable.”

Amazon said it “has the most selected books” in China, and the Chinese Books site “is an additional channel for our Chinese readers in the United States and elsewhere.” CIBTC “is just one of millions of our global trading partners who provide products in our stores.”

New details on China’s Amazon strategy show the challenges Western companies face in accessing the world’s most populous markets – as well as in dealing with a dictatorship that has tightened its grip on public discourse.

The company’s agreement with Beijing is contrary to its efforts to round out regulators in the world’s two largest democracies. In India, Reuters this year documented how Amazon violated local laws and, in order to promote its products, strengthened search results on its Indian website. In the United States, Reuters described in detail how Amazon released or executed state privacy bills designed to protect consumers.

Amazon has said it has always been law abiding in India and does not endorse its products with a private label in search results. Regarding the United States, the company said it chooses U.S. privacy policy, and that it protects consumers’ privacy and does not sell their data.

Some companies have responded to Beijing’s demands by leaving the market. Yahoo has recently moved out of China and Microsoft Corp’s LinkedIn has announced that it will be rolling out some of its services. Both mentioned the country’s difficult business environment and regulatory requirements.

Amazon, on the other hand, has grown into a major economic power in China in recent years, providing lucrative export opportunities for thousands of Chinese businesses while growing its leading unit in the cloud services industry. Amazon Web Services, or AWS, is now one of the largest providers in Chinese companies around the world, according to this year’s report by China’s analytical research company, as well as the people who worked for AWS.

However, in 2018, Amazon was receiving “a growing number of requests from (Chinese) monitors for the reduction of certain, highly politically sensitive content,” says a brief article prepared for Carney that year. He previously served as communications director to US President Joe Biden, during Biden’s vice presidency, and as President Barack Obama’s press secretary.

Amazon has refused to make Carney available for interview.

According to the brief, China’s Cyberspace Administration, or CAC, asked Amazon in 2018 to drop “a link to China’s new blockbuster film Amazing China due to rogue user reviews.” CAC is responsible for Internet security and content management.

“Amazing China” celebrates the country’s success since Xi became president in 2013. CAC has demanded that the link be removed from IMDb, an Amazon-owned website for movie information and updates.

The Amazon Office in China responded to the CAC that “it is difficult for Amazon China to accept such requests, and we will forward the message to” Amazon headquarters “and seek their views on the opportunities,” the statement said.

The film remains on the US IMDb website. Shortly after the application, some bad updates disappeared, with IMDb.com archived screenshots on the archive.org show. Some are still there, and “Amazing China” currently has a total rating of just 2.3 on top 10 points. Some reviews call it “painful,” “garbage” or “government propaganda.”

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“Some of the posts posted on ‘Amazing China’ have been removed because they violated the User Review content guidelines, most of which are not in the article,” Amazon told Reuters. “IMDb is not aware of any request from outside parties (including the Chinese government) to do anything about the review of this article.”

The CAC did not respond to a request for comment.

‘STRENGTHEN AGAIN WITH BREAKFAST’

Amazon entered China in 2004 on a $ 75 million deal to acquire Jo.com.com, an online book and media retailer. Finally, Amazon sought to introduce e-books and its popular Kindle reading equipment to the Chinese market.

To that end, it has worked with the General Administration of Press and Publication, or GAPP, a regulator involved in state research in its role as overseeing publishing in China. The NPPA now handles most of the GAPP obligations. The NPPA, on the other hand, is overseen by the Communist Party’s Marketing Department, formerly known as the Department of Propaganda.

According to a former Amazon executive who was involved in negotiations with China, the company obtained some, but not all, government licenses required to sell Kindle tools and e-books. The situation has given the government control over the seller, said the former chief executive officer. Amazon’s public policy team came up with the China Books project as a new way to “get what we want on Kindle and other things,” the man said. “It was blinking and shaking my head.”

Amazon soon began working with GAPP to set up China Books, according to a brief text. The company plans to introduce the site to Chinese authorities as the only Amazon store named after the country, the source said. Amazon offered a number of employees in an effort, including CIBTC, a state-owned book company, which the document described as a “framework from GAPP.”

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A photo on the CIBTC website shows Chinese officials enjoying the launch of the project at a hotel in Beijing in September 2011.

In October 2012, China Books was awarded the title, “a major national cultural export project”, by a group of Chinese government agencies, including GAPP, and an organization now known as the Marketing Department of the Communist Party of China. Two months later, Amazon launched its e-books business in China and soon began selling Kindles.

By the end of 2017, China had become the world’s largest Kindle market, “accounting for 40% + of our global sales volume,” according to a 2018 report. At that time, Amazon had added a Chinese e-book store to its American website and translated 19 books.

And Carney, the chief public policy officer who reported to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, went to China in April 2018. There, he told another member of the Communist Party’s central committee that Amazon would make “every effort” to improve China Books. and make it “bigger and stronger,” according to a CIBTC report.

A briefing prepared by Carney stated: “Both China Books and the Kindle Chinese eBook Store are a great commitment by Amazon China to help China ‘On the Move,’ an umbrella project aimed at promoting Chinese culture in the world.”

Amazon’s China Books’ Web Page highlights the name of CIBTC, but it does not disclose that the project was developed by Amazon in partnership with a Chinese government agency.

“Information about the company is easily accessible online,” Amazon told Reuters, “and CIBTC has put its name and logo prominently throughout its page. Our relationship with CIBTC is absolutely worthwhile.”

Eventually, the China Books project declined financially, according to a former member of the board. Few portfolio titles sold well, and Amazon even sent letters back because its stockpiles ran out of space.

Nevertheless, the China Books project continues. The Chinese

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