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Wikipedia Unblocked?

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liuzhou

BBC news is still blocked...

... unless you click here (sh)

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imron

Now being reported on slashdot...

'Wikipedia reported on its site that it had received word from multiple users in the country on Chinese-forums.com that the site had been restored.'"

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roddy

That's quite funny, I expected someone to edit that line out fairly quickly and put in something . . . well, better. And now it's on the front page of slashdot . . .

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hughitt1

hehe... at least they didn't link the people to this forum thread :)

The 2004 block referred to came allegedly in response to an article posted on the site as the country approached the 25th anniversary of the Tienneman Square massacre. The country subsequently initiated a mass edit of political articles on the site.

Hmm.. I guess the next question is- are they going to allow wikipedia to maintains its NPOV goal for articles? Or are you going to see more of a "China's POV" on some of the issues.

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roddy

I added a comment to the slashdot article to clarify a couple of things and linked to the forums thread. However, it was #120 or something and so far has generated a total of 2 visits, at least one of which was me. So far the server is coping. I also linked to Liuzhou's blog, as he was the one to spot it first. Danwei is also on the case.

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robattoronto

I'm from Toronto and although I've never been to China, I've never been a big fan of big brother watching over your shoulder all the time. Yes, there may be some pros and cons to this issue, but I see way more cons than benefits.

The bottom line is: The government just cannot bring their people to compete at par with other nations if you shelter their lives to such a degree that you dictate what they can see or cannot see on the internet. Its like a protective mother not allowing her kid to play with the other kids in the playground. Her son will hurt himself and do stupid things, but along the way, he'll learn a lot of valuable lessons.

I was very glad to read that the Chinese government unblocked wiki. I think its a great step forward. Its not about whether you can already access it through proxy sites, its about a government willing to negotiate and relaxing its fist. I'd say, don't be too disappointed if they didn't open the floodgates and allow all websites. It is indeed baby steps for your government.

As I've said, an excellent step forward in the right direction. The Chinese goverment need to allow their citizens to see the good and the bad of the internet.

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imron
It is indeed baby steps for your government.

Just FYI, most people on this forum aren't Chinese, but are non-Chinese interested in studying and learning about Chinese language and culture. It's not our governments doing anything.

And I don't really think it's relaxing anything, or showing that the Chinese government is somehow making the steps towards changing its ways. It's just got more fine-grained in how it censors things, so that non-sensitive articles can be viewed, rather than having a blanket ban on the domain. So although wikipedia is not completely blocked (as it used to be), you still have no access to the more "sensitive" web-pages. i.e. the Chinese government still believes it can dictate what content Chinese internet users can access.

One could argue that it's quite a master stroke by the Chinese government. Previously, many foreigners in China would complain about government censorship blocking access to a valuable resource like wikipedia. Mostly these people wouldn't be looking up the stuff that the Chinese goverment was concerned about, but the government still ended up copping a lot of criticism for it.

Now, that they've unblocked large amounts of wikipedia, you won't have nearly so many voices crying out that wikipedia is blocked, so they won't be getting criticised as much.

The net result of all of this is that they've silenced a bunch of critics, but are still doing more or less the same as they always were (i.e. still limiting access to the stuff that they don't want people seeing).

The cynic might well argue that in terms of protecting free-speech and in terms of the government changing it ways, things are now worse than they were before.

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roddy

Agree with Imron. It's not a step forward, it's a step nowhere. They've just stopped doing something pointless that didn't achieve their aims and got a bit of good publicity (or at least cancelled out some negative publicity). into the bargain.

I'm from Toronto and although I've never been to China, I've never been a big fan of big brother watching over your shoulder all the time.

On behalf of the Chinese people, doubleplus thanks.

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Hero Doug

I actually just read an article (well many) about how China is already starting to influence the world. MS, Google and Yahoo were the first to go, Skype recently came under critisim, Yahoo also released information which led to the arrest of two "online dissident writers".

This is all based on censorship issues.

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liuzhou
It's not a step forward, it's a step nowhere.

"

I think it is actually a step backwards. They have only opened wikipedia because their techniques are getting more sophisticated (thanks to companies like Cisco). They no longer need to block complete domain names as they did in the past. They can now block individual pages.

I can watch the Beatles on Youtube, but try to access the film of the recent T!bet murders by the border guards. They have blocked one video, not the whole site.

I guess that is why my blog was suddenly unblocked. I suffered from a mass blocking of the entire domain name. Now they are just waiting to pounce!

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md1101
They have only opened wikipedia because their techniques are getting more sophisticated (thanks to companies like Cisco). They no longer need to block complete domain names as they did in the past. They can now block individual pages.

you make a good point there liuzhou. thats very worrying.. precision blocking now hey? that baisically means more stealthy blocking. many chinese now wont even realise things are being blocked --> or at the least it wont be as obvious as say the entire bbc website being blocked.

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roddy

They've been doing keyword based blocking for years, and I'd imagine that is what is kicking in on the wikipedia / youtube pages mentioned above. It's nothing new. Unless there is something new which I haven't noticed yet, in which case it is something new.

Roddy

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md1101

speaking of internet freedoms, after watching some videos on youtube about north korea lately china now seems like a very free country!

the news a few nights ago had scenes of a march in north korea to show they're strength and might in relation to the current U.S vs. NK bickering. it looked like a scene from lord of the rings! they all had flaming torches, (they were marching at night), and they were marching infront of this tall structure that looked like the eye of sauron!

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geek_frappa
Unless there is something new which I haven't noticed yet, in which case it is something new.

please remember that internet in china is not completely controlled at a central beijing location. it for the most part, regionally controlled and the "wikipedia unblock" could temporary when the political situation changes.

cisco's new equipment might have a downside, as traceability has been improved 10-fold.

btw, it is really, really cool that chinese-forums.com was first to report this story :) nice to see

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hughitt1

I asked a friend online yesterday, and she was able to connect to the chinese version of wikipedia from within mainland. hehe.. if it stays this way.. hopefully it will stay this way, and the chinese wikipedia will have a chance to develop :)

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