Tuesday, July 14, 2020
Home Lead Story Beijing Blocks Wikipedia in all Languages

Beijing Blocks Wikipedia in all Languages

Previously, most editions of Wikipedia -- besides the Chinese language version, which was reportedly blocked in 2015 -- were available, OONI said in their report

Beijing has broadened its block of online encyclopedia Wikipedia to include all language editions, an internet censorship research group reported just weeks ahead of China’s most politically explosive anniversary.

According to a report by the Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI), China started blocking all language editions of Wikipedia last month. Previously, most editions of Wikipedia — besides the Chinese language version, which was reportedly blocked in 2015 — were available, OONI said in their report.

AFP could not open any of Wikipedia’s versions in China on Wednesday. “At the end of the day, the content that really matters is Chinese-language content,” said Charlie Smith, the pseudonym of one of the co-founders of Greatfire.org, which tracks online censorship in China.

wikipedia
According to a report by the Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI), China started blocking all language editions of Wikipedia last month. Wikimedia Commons

“Blocking access to all language versions of Wikipedia for internet users in China is just symbolic,” he told AFP. “It symbolises the fear that the Chinese authorities have of the truth.” Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit organisation that operates Wikipedia, said it had not received any notices explaining the latest block.

According to the organisation, Wikipedia has been blocked intermittently in China since 2004. “With the expansion of this block, millions of readers and volunteer editors, writers, academics, and researchers within China cannot access this resource or share their knowledge and achievements with the world,” Samantha Lien, communications manager at Wikimedia Foundation, told AFP over email.

“When one country, region, or culture cannot join the global conversation on Wikipedia, the entire world is poorer,” she said. China’s online censorship apparatus — dubbed the “Great Firewall” — blocks a large number of foreign sites in the country, such as Google, Facebook, VOA, and The New York Times.

Topics that are deemed too “sensitive” are also scrubbed, such as the 1989 crackdown on Tiananmen pro-democracy protesters which will mark its 30th anniversary on June 4.

wikipedia
Previously, most editions of Wikipedia — besides the Chinese language version, which was reportedly blocked in 2015 — were available, OONI said in their report. Pixabay

The expanded block of Wikipedia comes as Chinese authorities under Chinese President Xi Jinping ramp up online controls and crack down on Great Firewall circumvention tools, such as virtual private network (VPN) software.

ALSO READ: US Lawmakers Seek Probe to Control the Spread of Hacking Tools Sold Globally

In November, China’s cyberspace authority said it had “cleaned up” 9,800 accounts on Chinese social media platforms like messaging app WeChat and the Twitter-like Weibo that it accused of spreading “politically harmful” information and rumours. Chinese Twitter users have also told AFP that they have experienced intimidation from local authorities — and even detention — for their tweets.

The latest move to block all versions of Wikipedia could be linked to online translation tools, which make it easy for Chinese users to read anything on Wikipedia, Smith said. Images can also be considered taboo, he said. “A picture is worth a thousand words, and there is no dearth of Tiananmen-related imagery on the Wikipedia website,” Smith added. (VOA)

STAY CONNECTED

18,986FansLike
362FollowersFollow
1,785FollowersFollow

Most Popular

Cloud Kitchens in India: A New Normal

There is a certain distinction in the concept and coinage of the term 'cloud kitchen'; the concept of takeaway or delivery only, without dining,...

Ayushmann Khurrana on How He Choose Films

Ayushmann Khurrana says he has always opted for films that have no reference point and that he has done so deliberately. Follow us on Instagram to...

Guidelines Issued for Ganeshotsav and Sizes of Ganesh Idols

The Maharashtra government on Saturday issued guidelines restricting the height of Ganesh idols and containing other stringent regulations, for the 11-day Ganeshotsav festival starting...

Hindu Gods to Worship According to Your Rashi

There are many Gods and Goddesses in Hindu Dharma. If you're confused, which God should you worship and why, then here are answers to...

Habits To Teach Your Child in This COVID-19 World

The fight against COVID-19 continues to take place all over the world. With most of us homebound owing to the home-sheltering and social restrictions,...

Follow A Low-Carb Diet For Weight Loss

Thinking weight loss usually means cutting carbohydrates - whether that's sugar or bread - out of your diet; the first option most people turn...

Cancer Cells Can be Killed By Fatty Acid, Says Research

In a major study, the researchers have shown that a fatty acid called dihomogamma-linolenic acid, or DGLA, can kill human cancer cells. The study, published...

Here’s How You Can Avoid Skin Allergies Caused by Masks

Wearing a mask is a must, but this has led to many complaints of various skin issues. Masks create a hot and moist environment...

Recent Comments