Amazon has experienced several disappointments with the ratings of items for sale in the past, as several sellers bought good ratings from consumers in exchange for certain perks, such as gift certificates. Now, the site is once again singled out for having reached a rather astonishing agreement with the Chinese government.
Indeed, a collection containing various texts and speeches by Chinese President Xi Jinping has been put on sale, and for two years the Chinese state has forced Amazon to remove all reviews below 5 stars (which is equivalent to the maximum rating ).
The Times reports that the move was made after a customer posted a lower rating. From then on, the government pressured to make it disappear. Amazon folded and agreed to filter the ratings.
Today, on the site, no comments or ratings appear about this book.
To justify itself, Amazon claims to be aware of the particularity of this situation but defends itself by explaining that it adapts to the rules of each country. For China, the group mentions in particular, as reported by Reuters, “ideological control and propaganda” which would be “at the heart of the strategy of the Communist Party to achieve and maintain its success”. Amazon does not take sides and specifies: “We do not judge whether it is good or bad”.
This is not the first time that a large group has agreed to make changes to match the rules imposed by the Chinese state. In fact, Apple has adapted certain conditions for sharing personal data in this regard.