July 08,2022

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Keith Chu (202) 224-4515 

U.S. ITC Finds American Media Companies Lose Billions Due to Chinese Government Censorship

Political dissidents in China, Russia, India and elsewhere are common targets of authoritarian censorship, ITC says

Washington, D.C. – Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today welcomed the International Trade Commission’s second report on the impacts of censorship by China and other foreign governments as a non-tariff barrier to trade. The report found that U.S. companies were often forced to censor political dissidents, LGBTQ content and religious content or risk being blocked from operating in major foreign markets. 

“Governments in China, Russia and elsewhere are making tech and media companies choose between enforcing authoritarian restraints on speech or losing out on billions in revenue. This growing government censorship is a threat to American values and to American jobs,” Wyden said. “The United States has to start fighting back against this malign trend, or the Chinese government’s twisted model for online and offline speech will win out.”

The report, available here, found that movie studios, streaming services like Netflix, internet companies and other media companies lost out on billions in revenue in China, Russia, India, Vietnam and other nations that demand censorship of content critical of the government. It follows the first report, which identified the scope of censorship demands, and how these nations also demanded censorship outside their national borders. 

The Senate Finance Committee’s trade title to the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act includes a provision directing the U.S. Trade Representative to study foreign government censorship and extrajudicial data access. Identifying and reporting on instances of censorship is a key first step in fighting back against these authoritarian practices.