[NetBehaviour] Wikipedia Is a Hit in China As Ban Is Lifted.
marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Thu Nov 16 11:06:36 CET 2006
Wikipedia Is a Hit in China As Ban Is Lifted.
WALL STREET JOURNAL.
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,
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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