Tuesday May 02, 2017

China Takes on Wikipedia with Its Own Online Encyclopedia

On a scale of 1 to 10, how biased and censored do you think China’s version of Wikipedia will be? This will actually be an online version of the country’s official encyclopedia, cleverly named "Chinese Encyclopedia," and unlike everyone’s favorite stateside online compendium, China’s version will be curated by 20,000 authors from universities and research institutes contributing to articles in more than 100 disciplines. Scholars boast that having a team of high-quality authors is superior to the freedom of allowing anyone to edit.

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"The Chinese Encyclopedia is not a book, but a Great Wall of culture," Yang Muzhi, the editor-in-chief of the project and the chairman of the Book and Periodicals Distribution Association of China, told senior scientists at a meeting at the headquarters of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) in Beijing on April 12, according to a report on the academy’s website the next day. Access to Wikipedia is partially banned on the Chinese mainland. Most entries on science and technology can be read, but a search for sensitive keywords such as "Dalai Lama" and "Xi Jinping" will result in the connection to the server being lost. Yang told the meeting China was under international pressure and felt an urgent need to produce its own encyclopedia to "guide and lead the public and society."