Beijing Shutters Video Sharing Sites
The visuals of protests in Lhasa against Chinese rule of Tibet continue to spook the central Chinese government, which shut down 25 video sharing sites.
Plenty of additional video sites received missives from the government. Either control the content on your sites, or suffer the consequences. Such is life in China, rewarded with the Beijing Olympics, and recently noted as the source of contaminated blood-thinner Heparin.
New regulations in China cited by Reuters call upon site publishers to rein in violent, pornographic, and political content. Since the first two likely serve to distract people from paying attention to the government, we have to think the third one holds the most importance for state authorities.
There is something of an economic hazard to Beijing’s actions. Deep-pocketed foreign investors may be loathe to invest in businesses that, while successful outside of China, are viewed as threats inside the country.
Investors like Sequoia and IDG want to find the next YouTube, as Reuters noted. China has more Internet users than any other country in the world, which could drive a video sharing site to YouTube-like valuations, and a rich exit for venture capitalists backing it.
The difference, of course, is that in China, video uploading and sharing poses a concern to the Communist leaders. People run the risk of having the government become personally interested in their lives for posting an offending clip.
Contrast that with America, where Presidential candidate Barack Obama’s 38-minute speech on race picked up over 2 million views on YouTube, and not one arrest. Big difference.