Suo Huijun (索慧君): Why Is the Chinese Government Blocking Chinese Wikipedia?

Suo Huijun (索慧君) is a masters student in the New Media Center, School of Journalism and Communication of Tsinghua University. She recently published a paper on the development of wiki in China. In the paper, she interviewed a anonymous government official who is working in one of an Internet control agencies. The following are some excerpts of her interview of the conversation regarding Wikipedia, translated by CDT:

When asked about the Chinese government’s attitude toward Wikipedia, this official said: “Actually, the government had conflicted thoughts during the back and forth process of blocking – unblocking – blocking Wikipedia. … On the one hand, Wikipedia is very valuable in terms of accumulating and spreading knowledge and culture. On the other hand, this means of communication could also be used by a small group of anti-China elements, publishing information which will endanger state security, social stability, and ethnic unity.

When asked “How can Wikipedia threaten state security?” the official provided an argument which makes people think: “A small group of evil-doers has more strength then a large number of people with goodwill.” The official admits that most Wikipedia users have goodwill. But there are a small number of destructive elements whose actions are persistent and constant. The final result of this phenomenon is that “the strength of a small number of evil-doers will make Wikipedia into a platform spreading bad information, and threatening state security and social stability. ” “Knowledge and culture has many ways to progress; they will not be halted just because Wikipedia is blocked. But state security is a different matter. ”

December 14, 2009 10:23 AM
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