Who will reject the Chinese government’s censorship demands, if Jeff Bezos and Jay Carney don’t?


Then-White House press secretary Jay Carney arrives in Swanton, Ohio on September 26, 2012. (Jason Reed / Reuters)

There is a crass term that is used to describe fabulous and seemingly free levels of wealth: “[blank] your money. “This is when you have so much wealth, you can tell anyone, under any circumstance,”[blank] you ”and do not fear the consequences. You can walk away from any proposition, any deal, and not suffer with pleasure. You can live life on your terms and never need to compromise on what feels right to you. You never feel the need to accept something that you think is wrong, unethical, or reckless, because of financial pressure.

You would like to think that if anyone on the planet had “[blank] your money ”, it would be Jeff Bezos, currently the second richest man on the planet behind Elon Musk, with an estimated net worth of $ 192 billion.

And yet, even with all this wealth, when the Chinese government demanded that Bezos’ company, Amazon, comply with a far-reaching censorship proposal. . . Bezos and Amazon have agreed, according to Reuters:

Amazon.com Inc was marketing a collection of President Xi Jinping’s speeches and writings on its Chinese website about two years ago, when Beijing issued an edict, according to two people familiar with the incident. The US e-commerce giant must stop allowing customer ratings and reviews in China.

A negative review of Xi’s book sparked demand, one of the people said. “I think the issue was less than five stars,” Amazon’s five-point system’s highest rating, said the other person.

Ratings and reviews are a crucial part of Amazon’s ecommerce business, a major way to engage shoppers. But Amazon complied, the two said. Currently, on its Chinese site Amazon.cn, the government-published book does not have customer reviews or ratings. And the comments section is disabled.

This Reuters report offers an utterly depressing look at how Amazon knew what the Chinese government was doing and chose to look away and treat it like just another customer:

A 2018 Amazon internal briefing document that describes the company’s activities in China lays out a number of “core issues” the Seattle-based giant faces in the country. Among them: “Ideological control and propaganda are at the heart of the toolbox of the Communist Party to achieve and maintain its success,” notes the document. “We don’t judge whether it’s right or wrong.”

And one of the key players in the Amazon-China relationship is a household name:

The 2018 backgrounder details the strategic challenges of the China Books project for Jay Carney, Amazon’s global head of lobbying and public policy operations, ahead of a trip he made to Beijing. “Kindle operates in China in a political gray area,” the document said, and notes that Amazon is having difficulty obtaining a license to sell e-books in the country.

“The key item to protect” against its licensing problem with the Chinese government “is the Chinabooks project,” the document said.

So the former Obama administration White House press secretary is helping Amazon and China work together to ensure that criticism of the Chinese government never reaches Chinese readers. (Hey, remember when the conservatives and the libertarians noticed the soviet propaganda posters on the wall of the Carney house, and that was a sign of how paranoid and humorless we were and the art selection didn’t say anything about how Carney views the world or her values? Good times, good times.)

You can find many China Review Books on Amazon, available for sale in other countries. And Amazon is far from the only company to have compromised its so-called values ​​in order to ensure continued access to the Chinese market; it is now more or less standard operating procedure in American companies now.

Listen, this is the life and fortune of Jeff Bezos and he’s free to make his own choices. But if Jeff Bezos isn’t willing to say “[blank] you ”to the Chinese government’s censorship demands. . . Who’s gonna do it?


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