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November 16, 2006

China Unblocks Wikipedia

The Chinese government has quietly unblocked the Wikipedia site to Chinese Internet surfers.  Jimmy Wales has said in the past that he would not censor information to please the Chinese government.  Congressman Tom Lantos of California said this was an example for Yahoo, Google, and MSN to cut a similar deal.  In reality, there was probably no deal with Wikipedia and China.  The wiki is merely a site while the others are in business under Chinese regulations.  Dollars are at stake here, not ideas.

Speaking of ideas, two members of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at the Harvard Law School suggest that China could encourage residents to contribute their own articles.  These, of course, could contain facts or points of view with a bias towards government positions.  Of course, that's a more insidious form of censorship.  The wiki content isn't hacked as much as manipulated.  It will be interesting to see if that happens, and if it does, how the wiki community will react.

More details are in the Boston Globe.

November 16, 2006 | Permalink

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