Chinese video websites: Political and financial gains for the state

In Kelly Hu’s article ” Competition and Collaboration: Chinese video websites, subtitle groups, state regulation and market” discusses the political and economic factors that shape the competition on video websites and subtitle companies in China (PRC). I found this article highly gripping because she mentions how Chinese websites and subtitle groups are cooperating, and using the state’s legislative power to make money and gain control in the media business. My another reason why I am interested in this article that within the last few of years, many Western (mostly European)-based news agencies and politicians were criticizing and mentioning about the Chinese Government’s bold political decisions, brutality towards the minority groups, and of course censorship in the media and minimizing individual liberty.

In the article, Hu mentioned, the state launched a crackdown on BitTorrent forums and some websites to shut it down in December 2007. The reason for shutdowns is that the state accused the targetted sites and forums to being outlaws because they lacked a license. The targeted sites were not able to afford to buy copyrighted programmes however only major video websites could buy it which is most of them were state-owned or collaborating with the government. Eventually, after the crackdown, the competition between private and state-owned companies are decreased. This situation made the state-own companies dominated the market. Not only the websites benefitted, but the state also got benefits from this situation. State-owned and licensed private Chinese video website companies are collaborating with the government by censoring unwanted videos on their sites to avoid problems with the government. For example, in the article, a video -sharing company based in Shanghai called Tudou has employed more than 100 volunteers to screen, report and censor any kind unwanted attention from that will cause to the Chinese government and the web company itself.

In my opinion, the Chinese government killed two birds with one stone. The Chinese Government is using ” the anti-piracy law” to make what the government want to see the websites and to make a profit from the state-based video networks. I did not shock that the Chinese government will use their political or legislative power to expand their control over their people and to make a profit by using these sites to support their government. To be honest, for an authoritarian country this is a smart strategy to eliminate other oppositions in the political competition and market competition.

Kelly Hu shared to us that how political power can turn to an advantage to the government that might control political and market competition by using politics and media control. I also want to add in tifannyma2018’s reading response she stated ”The media is no exception to the Chinese state’s relentless attempts in centralizing power and exploiting that power to make financial gains. It is important for us to keep this in mind, and not to draw premature conclusion when analyzing government’s policies, be reasonably skeptical and acutely aware at all times.” I agree with her statement. The Chinese government tries to centralize power and using that power to make financial achievements. We must be careful and cautious about this situation.

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