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Because you didn’t give Chinese President Xi Jinping’s book a five-star rating, you ruined the review process for everyone.
According to Reuters, the Chinese government ordered Amazon to delete all reviews and comments under the link that sold Xi’s book, The Governance of China, in China. So, of course, Amazon complied like the obedient company that it is.
“I think the issue was anything under five stars,” one of the sources told Reuters.
China delivered its mandate two years ago but no one had disclosed the matter until Monday. Now, Xi’s propaganda compendium is the only book on Amazon.cn that does not have any reviews or comments.
[R]atings and reviews are a key part of how Amazon does business — helping to feed algorithms that lead people to other things they might be interested in buying,” the New York Post notes.
Amazon is far from the only US company bending to Chinese pressure. Notably, Apple is actively removing apps that allow Chinese users to access world news coverage at the demand of the Chinese authorities. Other companies that China has successfully weaponized include Nike and Adidas.
US companies agree to obey China’s commands to ensure an ability to remain a seller in the Chinese market. Amazon even defended its compliance in an internal 2018 briefing document. Check this out:
“Ideological control and propaganda is the core of the toolkit for the communist party to achieve and maintain its success,” Amazon’s document read. “We are not making judgment on whether it is right or wrong.”
Got that? Amazon is not judging whether China’s censorship requests are right or wrong. Instead, Amazon only knows China’s demands are “right” for business.