Tag Archives: I Praticed

Wikipedia and Internet Regulation in Mainland China

This is Submission in Wikimania 2013.

The development of Wikipedia in Mainland China is not good in past few years. Wikipedia have been blocked several times for some sensitive articles, which is not welcome by the Chinese authority. So far, most of the Wikipedia articles and services can be accessed through “https”. For a long time, the Chinese Wikipedia can only be added/modified by people in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, and VPN(or other proxy services) users in Mainland China, etc. without the participation of 500 million netizion, the number and quality of the Chinese Wikipedia articles suffered a huge lose.

The Chinese government never explained the rules of blocking, there won’t be any notice before or after the blocking. And of course you can’t sue any department, because no department is responsible for this action and no court will take such cases. If the reporters ask the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, spokesman/spokeswoman would simply claimed the government just manage the Internet legally.

Last December, an Internet real-name system law passed in China. It required all the websites and Internet Service Provider(ISP) verifying the real-name information of their users. Besides this, another regulation required every websites put their records on government’s file before they go online, some websites are even required multiple approvals by different departments. The authority prefer the idea of “under-controlled encyclopedia”(like Baidu Baike) rather than a free encyclopedia out of their hand. Since the real-name system law had been passed, the government could simply declare Wikipedia fail to provide real-name information and therefore violate the law, that’s why it have to be blocked again.

As long as the rule of blocking is not clear, the development of Wikipedia in Mainland China have to face risk of blocking all the time.