Censorship: China blocks all language editions of Wikipedia

Evarado Alatorre
May 18, 2019

Authorities in China have blocked all language editions of Wikipedia, the online encyclopaedia's owner said today, ahead of the country's most politically explosive anniversary.

Wikipedia joins the ranks of Google, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, WhatsApp, and others, which are locked behind China's so-called "Great Firewall".

China has banned online encyclopedia Wikipedia, six years after the platform's founder, Jimmy Wales, refused to comply with China's regulatory demands regarding the site's content.

According to Wikipedia, they had not received any notice or explanation regarding the ban.

Internet researchers from the Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI), which is run by a US -based non-profit, said earlier this month that editions of Wikipedia in several languages had been banned as of April.

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Wikipedia has been blocked in Turkey since 2017, and has intermittently been blocked in several other countries, including Iran, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.

Charlie Smith, the pseudonym used by one of the co-founders of Greatfire.org, says that the blanket ban may have something to do with translation tools, which allows readers to translate blocked content into Chinese.

AFP could not open any of Wikipedia's versions in China on Wednesday (May 15).

"When one country, region or culture can not join the global conversation on Wikipedia, the entire world is poorer", she said. "It symbolises the fear that the Chinese authorities have of the truth".

The reason behind this block is ill-defined, but the ban comes just weeks before the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests, which culminated in a violent government crackdown.

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