Unpacking Gan Jing World

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One day in early spring of last year, a sculptor from South Carolina typed his name into Google: “Clint Button,” he wrote and pressed “Enter.” He wasn’t surprised to see his YouTube channel among the first results, but further down the page, something surprised him. Someone had uploaded his YouTube videos to a video platform he had never heard of called “Gan Jing World.”“I pulled it up, and it had my homepage, my YouTube channel, and my YouTube channel homepage,” Button said. “I was pissed.” 

Button’s experience is not unique. He is one of many YouTube creators who have stumbled across their own videos on Gan Jing World. According to the ‘about us’ page, Gan Jing World is a “wholesome digital town square” founded by followers of Falun Gong, a spiritual movement outlawed by the Chinese government in the late 1990s. It is one of many sites linked to the right-wing news organization the Epoch Times.

Gan Jing World  (which translates to “Clean World” in Chinese) consists of feel-good videos, often lifted from YouTube without the original content creator’s consent. The videos supposedly follow the site’s four guiding principles of “no violence, no pornography, no crime, and no drugs.” Button’s YouTube channel, which features stone carving tutorials, likely secured a spot on Gan Jing World because it met this criteria.  

Sandwiched between videos re-published from YouTube are ads and channels for Falun Gong-aligned organizations and local businesses. These include the ubiquitous dance troupe Shen Yun, as well as the anti-CCP media groups the Epoch Times and New Tang Dynasty Television (NTD)—both of which are owned by the Epoch Times Media Group. Together, these sites make up a tight-knit network echoing the teachings of Falun Gong’s leader and founder, Li Hongzhi (or “Master Li”). 

Content retrieved from: https://www.cjr.org/analysis/unpacking-gan-jing-world.php.

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