Chinese Can Only Access Video from State-controlled Companies

    January 4, 2008

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.”