Banned books and other forms of censorship

On the banning of books, censorship and other freedom of access issues

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Wikipedia won't bow to China

The online, open source encyclopedia Wikipedia has refused to bow to Chinese censorship pressure, said its ite’s founder Jimmy Wales Aug. 26, while speaking to a Hong Kong conference of all-China Wikipedia users. China has blocked the site since last October because it refused to change or remove articles on controversial topics such as the Tiananmen massacre. Mainland China users instead have "had to rely on a similar, but heavily censored clone, put together by Chinese Web portal Baidu, which puts a positive spin on events politically sensitive to Beijing such as the Tiananmen crackdown of 1989," writes Raymond Ma of the South China Morning Post.

Asia News/SCMP reports:

The Chinese-language version of Wikipedia is one of the most extensive: it has more than 85,000 articles, 2.7 million web pages and 15,000 images. Although it is censored, and inaccessible to a large portion of the Chinese-speaking world, it is still growing at a rate of 9% per month and is expected to exceed the 100,000-article mark before the year is out, and 250,000 by 2007. The English version of the encyclopaedia is the largest, with more than 1.3 million articles. Around 80 volunteers maintain more than half the Chinese edition.

Wales described the censorship of Wikipedia in China as a "huge mistake" because the majority of articles were on “neutral” topics such as art, history and technical facts. The vast majority of contributors who wrote and published information are not too interested in politics; rather they want to create dialogue between different viewpoints. So blocking the entire site to prevent people from reading anything deemed “sensitive”, also denied the participation of all China to this global website, continued Wales. This led to a mutual loss for the Chinese people on the one hand and the world community.


Blogger Agent KGB said...

Too bad Google and other sites don't have similar views.

2:37 PM  

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