[NetBehaviour] Wikipedia Is a Hit in China As Ban Is Lifted.

marc marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Thu Nov 16 11:06:36 CET 2006

Wikipedia Is a Hit in China As Ban Is Lifted.


BEIJING -- The Chinese-language version of reader-edited online 
encyclopedia Wikipedia has exploded in popularity in the past five days, 
after a yearlong ban of the site was lifted.

Activity on nonprofit Wikimedia Foundation's Chinese Wikipedia site has 
skyrocketed since its release, which Internet users in China first 
started reporting on Nov. 10. Since then, the number of new users 
registering to contribute to the site has exceeded 1,200 a day, up from 
an average of 300 to 400 prior to the unblocking. The number of new 
articles posted daily has increased 75% from the week before, with the 
total now surpassing 100,000, according to the foundation.

China's government routinely blocks overseas Web sites containing 
content it considers threatening. Officials seldom discuss the online 
controls publicly and don't acknowledge blocking or unblocking specific 

Authorities had been blocking both the Chinese and the English versions 
of Wikipedia steadily since October 2005. The sites previously had been 
blocked in China only intermittently. The lengthy ban drew criticism 
from some intellectuals in China who pointed out that it hindered the 
ability to add Chinese perspective to articles on the encyclopedia 
sites. Last month, the block on the English site was suddenly lifted, 
without explanation.

The unblocking of Chinese-language Wikipedia makes the site's 
user-generated content accessible to a much larger share of China's 
Internet population, which now numbers more than 120 million.

No one can be certain the current access will remain. "I won't crack 
open the champagne just yet," said Tim Starling, a Wikimedia system 


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