One of China’s biggest fears going into the Olympics was that the event would give a bigger megaphone to banned groups, such as the Free Tibet movement and the Falun Gong religious sect.
China appears to have done a thorough job of suppressing overt protests — and even restricted access to Web sites for visiting journalists — but it appears Falun Gong has managed to use the newfound focus on China to their advantage.
The group had 13 videos among the top 100 most-viewed during the first week of the Beijing Olympics, netting 3.5 million views. And it had four videos among the top 100 the following week, netting 1 million views. That’s according to TubeMogul, which tracks video views across 20 sites, including YouTube, Revver, Dailymotion and Metacafe.
It’s the first time Falun Gong has any video in the top 100 since TubeMogul started keeping track in 2006, and until opening day of the Olympics Falun Gong videos had netted a mere 95,000 views. What changed? Hard to say; a PR push could have helped, as could paid promotion on some sites. It also helps that the videos make sensational claims, including this “news” report on organ stealing in Chinese labour camps.
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