China’s State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) has ordered leading Chinese video-sharing site Tudou to shut down, according to reports from Netease (the original source, though apparently the story has been taken down) and Sohu. The shutdown is reportedly over government concern that Tudou is hosting pornographic and other banned content.
I don’t read Chinese, and some of the reports themselves may have been censored, but what makes this story all the more inconclusive is the fact that Tudou has been up and running the whole time the rumors have been flying. The company is denying that it received a shutdown order; we have not yet heard back regarding our request for comment.
Chinese reporters and bloggers writing in English say they aren’t quite sure what’s happening. Insiders indicated “a ‘black list’ was making the rounds and some form of punishment would be meted out,” writes my former colleague Kaiser Kuo, who claims to have confirmed the Tudou injunction through a second-hand source.
“The accusations of pornographic content are absurd: Tudou is one of the least salacious video hosts out there,” remarks Jeremy Goldkorn at Danwei. “Copyright infringement’s a different story, but there again, Tudou is no worse than any of the others.”