China bans Wikipedia in all languages
Wikipedia has an article listing a slew of websites blocked in mainland China. The latest entry: Wikipedia.
The community-edited online encyclopedia was barred in April, according to a new report from the censorship research group, the Open Observatory of Network Interference.
This means Beijing's ban of the Chinese-language edition has been extended to swallow Wikipedia's entire platform.
The Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit that hosts Wikipedia's site, told the BBC that it had "no notice" its platform would be shut off in China. Wikimedia did not immediately respond to a request for comment by The Post.
Launched in 2012, Open Observatory "studies the Internet" by running experiments on various networks "to understand where and how information controls are being implemented around the world," said Arturo Filastò, a project lead with the group. OONI relies on a mobile app used by tens of thousands of volunteers who document cases of internet censorship or other kinds of internet interference. All the findings are published in open data sets.
China's censorship of Wikipedia has come in waves, Filastò said. For years, Beijing would target specific search results - such as for "Tiananmen Square massacre" - without blocking entire sites. Then, in early 2016, China blocked Wikipedia's Chinese-language edition. But Filastò speculated that the government recognized there was a growing public interest in Wikipedia content that wasn't just in Chinese.
Open Observatory also found that China's broad censorship of Wikipedia is more sophisticated than its earlier screens. The new block uses two censorship techniques that make it harder for users to slip through.
The platform was English only when it launched in 2001, according to its Wikipedia entry, but now features articles in more than 300 languages. The English edition represents less than 15% of the site's more than 40 million articles.
In 2013, Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales told the Wall Street Journal that the site would never comply with the Chinese government's request to censor information. Beijing also bans Google, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest and thousands of other domain names.
China's unilateral ban follows a similar one in Turkey, which blocked Wikipedia in 2017 and has had intermittent bans on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and WhatsApp. Turkish authorities said the ban went into effect after Wikipedia would not remove content that accused Turkey of giving support to terrorist groups, according to The Verge. The multi-language ban is still in effect.
One year into the Turkish ban, the Wikimedia Foundation's communications manager, Samantha Lien, told The Verge that the foundation had been lobbying to get Wikipedia reinstated in Turkey, and that its appeal had been under review from Turkey's Constitutional Court for nearly a year.
"We have asked Turkish courts to review the block, and have engaged in a series of discussions with Turkish authorities," Lien said at the time.The Washington Post