Posted January 4, 2008 12:58 pm by with 11 comments

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You knew it had to happen sooner or later: China is cracking down on Internet video. Under the new regulations, Chinese web surfers will only be able to access video from state-controlled companies. It looks like these regulations will effectively kill user-generated and other video sharing sites.

However, as the AP reports, there is some uncertainty there:

It wasn’t immediately clear how the new rules would affect YouTube and other providers of Internet video that host Web sites available in China but are based in other countries.

While it sounds pretty clear cut, the AP says that the real question is whether YouTube has any servers located in China. I’m not exactly sure how that squares with the definition of the regulations, which state that “Web sites that provide video programming or allow users to upload video must obtain government permits and applicants must be either state-owned or state-controlled companies.” The policy will take effect at the end of this month.

It looks like it’s becoming increasingly difficult for US-based companies, especially Internet companies, to comply with the demands of the Chinese government. And that might just be the intent. The rules state:

Those who provide Internet video services should insist on serving the people, serve socialism … and abide by the moral code of socialism.

To Americans, however, the new regulations look more like they’re serving the Chinese government, instead of the Chinese people, considering they include provisions to:

The policy will ban providers from broadcasting video that involves national secrets, hurts the reputation of China, disrupts social stability or promotes pornography. Providers will be required to delete and report such content.

Seems odd to me, at least, that a site like YouTube, which has long been all about people, may now be cut off entirely for not “serving the people.”

  • “the AP says that the real question is whether YouTube has any servers located in China” – uh, no, that is not the real question.

    And Yahoo and Google have already answered the question – they will cave to the craven Communists in a Silicon Valley microsecond.

    Why? Because they want NOT to be blocked at the great Chinese firewall. Plus they own stakes in Chinese internet (bubble 2.0) companies.

    So the ChiCom gubbmit has plenty-o-leverage on Google and the others.


  • It’s really too bad that decisions such as this one make entering the chinese market (one with great potential) a pretty risky venture for most companies, since you never know when you can find yourself in a similar situation.

    Alan Johnson

  • The most populated country in the world is taking away power from the hands of the people. A real pity.

  • Indeed filtering websites, search results and now videos as well, you really don’t know what to expect next, definitely an unpredictable market to enter.

    Alan Johnson

  • This really is bad news for any company that’s thinking about investing anything in that market.

  • Doesn’t really surprise me at all, especially when you consider the chinese governments record on human rights and personal freedom. They are obviously intent on controlling the internet content chinese people can access. As for companies trying to do business in china, they will always bow to any demands made because the rewards are great.

  • It’s all about risk vs. reward and, with a market with potential such as this one, a lot of companies are willing to take a chance 🙂

    Alan Johnson

  • Zen

    Yeah, like your government doesn’t control your media. Open up your eyes, people!

  • This may not be as bad as it sounds. They are blocking video contents that contain national securities. So any other types of video would still be ok, i guess?

  • We have this problem, too. We hostet the site in Germany and users in China couldn’t take the video.
    We moved the server to China and there are no issues with filter or any other restrictions.

  • I really would hate to live in China for the aforementioned reason: they try to manipulate and control their citizens. Proud to be an American.