First of all, consider that most major media content from official sources like TV shows and movies are geolocked to approved countries. This has way more to do with copyright and licensing than censorship, but it’s what it is.

Second, consider the fact that every VPN around the world advertise that “if you’re in China, you can use us to get past censorship” in their marketing. Now, how many VPNs that Westerns use have an actual endpoint inside Mainland China? Totally legal to do btw, but how many prividers actually do it? Which, fun fact, the simple act of jumping the great firewall isn’t illegal. It’s only illegal of you commit a crime while bypassing the firewall, like if you were posting on a Western porn site or something, in which case it could be used to increase sentencing in court. Technically you can only use VPNs by Chinese companies (many of which still let you jump the firewall BTW), but as far as I know they don’t enforce it that much considering how prevalent Western VPNs are over there, and the fact they if they really cared they would have blocked all the major foreign VPN endpoints. Watching even explicitly state censored stuff isn’t illegal, it’s only illegal if you make, advertise, duplicate, or distribute it. Actually, additional fun fact, access and possession of porn is generally legal in China, they only criminalize, again, making, distributing, duplicating, or advertising it, that’s just their general philosophy when it comes to banned media.

Third, consider piracy. How often do you see Chinese media on western torrent sites or illegal streaming sites? I dunno about you, but pretty much never for me. Meanwhile, plenty of Chinese illegal streaming sites have all the Western shows you could want, and Chinese people torrent stuff all the time. Piracy is technically illegal in China, especially since torrenting counts as distribution, but I’ve personally never heard it enforced for regular Western movies and TV shows, only for porn and stuff like that. (Source: Am Chinese, lived in China) And there are tons of Chinese streaming sites, hosted in China, which you’d think would be pretty easy for them to shut down if they actually cared about it.

All in all, Chinese people aren’t starving for Western “freedom” media. The West is starving for Chinese media.

  • rigor
    2 years ago

    Also: language barriers and travel. Barley any non-Chinese sleek Chinese, sure it’s a difficult language to learn, but Chinese kids all study English from very early in their education. In China you can easily find foreign media with Chinese subtitles. How much Chinese media (including social media) do westerners consume?

    If a Chinese person wants, they know how to, and can see western media. Many foreign movies are popular in China. Inversely, westerners have no idea about Chinese media, let alone Chinese culture, society, history, politics, etc.

    A westerner would struggle to name a Chinese politician besides Xi; yet there are many who are influential. You can’t understand any countries politics by only knowing of their leader. Chinese history is many thousands of years old, yet Chinese kids also study western history and art, among other things.

    I visited one of the most famous western (historical) art museums with a Chinese person, from the mainland, and they recognized as many prices of art as a person from that country would. This was in Europe (most Americans study art much less in their education).

    Chinese people learn western languages, see western media, can travel to the west, and can study in their universities. Westerners largely do none of this when it comes to China. Even so, Chinese is a wonderful language, and China has incredible media, attractions, universities, etc.

    In essentially all respects, westerners think they have a more accurate view of China because of their “democracy” and “free press”. Yet they are in reality so ignorant about China, that they are blind to the reality: westerners live in a box with one way mirrors looking back at them, they see their own atrocities in the reflection and project their crimes into others, yet those others can see the west clearly.