by CIO Staff

China Lets Its Citizens Access Chinese-Language Wikipedia

Nov 16, 20062 mins

The Chinese government has stopped blocking its citizens’ access to the Chinese-language version of less than one month after removing a ban that kept its people from accessing the English-language version of the online encyclopedia; however, some subject matter is still unavailable, The New York Times reports.

The news comes from Wikipedia administrators, according to the Times.

Wikipedia is a popular Web encyclopedia that can be built on and edited by its users.

The move enables China’s tens of millions of Web surfers to read and help build the information on the Chinese version of the site, which recently surpassed the 100,000 articles-posted mark, the Times reports.

Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia founder, said the site’s administrators were not contacted by Chinese representatives regarding the change, and that it’s unclear whether the modification will stay in effect, according to the Times.

Wikipedia is operated by a nonprofit organization, and it has never complied with requests to censor any material directed at Chinese Web surfers, the Times reports. Such firms as Yahoo and Google have caught heat in the past for their willingness to comply with censorship requests on the part of the Chinese government.

Materials that are still unavailable to Chinese users on the site include articles pertaining to such subjects as the Falun Gong Movement and the Tiananmen Square massacre, among others, according to the Times.

The Chinese version of Wikipedia has seen on-and-off availability in China since it was launched, the Times reports. In 2005, both the Chinese-language and English-language Wikipedia sites were available only to later be blocked, according to the Times.

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