China blocks all language editions of Wikipedia, East Asia News & Top Stories

18 May, 2019, 04:41 | Author: Wade Massey
  • A celebrated image of a man trying to stop the tanks entering the square in Beijing

The Chinese Communist Party's decision to issue a blanket ban on all 300 languages available on Wikipedia's platform comes a month after Beijing barred the Mandarin version of the community-edited encyclopedia without notifying the Wikimedia Foundation ahead of the ban.

According to a new report from the Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI), a website that tracks internet censorship across the globe, all language editions of Wikipedia have now been banned.

The Wikimedia Foundation, which runs Wikipedia, did not immediately answer questions emailed by dpa on Wednesday; however, the foundation earlier confirmed to the BBC that all language versions of its website have been blocked in China.

Now, Wikipedia is no more accessible in any language in China. "After closely analysing our internal traffic reports, we can confirm that Wikipedia is now blocked across all language versions", Wikimedia said in a statement.

"With the expansion of this block, millions of readers and volunteer editors, writers, academics, and researchers within China can not access this resource or share their knowledge and achievements with the world", Samantha Lien, communications manager at Wikimedia Foundation, told AFP over email.

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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.

'When one country, region, or culture can not join the global conversation on Wikipedia, the entire world is poorer, ' Lien adds.

Images could also be considered taboo, Smith said. 'It symbolises the fear that the Chinese authorities have of the truth'.

Internet authorities in China often ramp up censorship before major political events or sensitive anniversaries.

This June will mark 30 years since the army used force to suppress the pro-democracy protests centred around Tiananmen Square.

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