China Unblocks Wikipedia

By: E&P Staff

The online interactive reference site Wikipedia announced Tuesday that the site had apparently been made accessible in China, after being blocked for just over a year by the country’s government.

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, as first pointed out by the Flumesday blog on Tuesday. The most recent blocking was the third such outage reported by Wikipedia.

“We’ll see how long this lasts,” said the company on its site. “Chinese Wikipedians have expressed fears about the detrimental effects that a permanent ban would have. First of all, the block deprives a useful resource from the majority of Chinese speakers in the world. Moreover, since Mainland Chinese form a significant portion of the Chinese Wikipedia community (46% of all users in March 2005), a long-term block could severely stunt the growth of Wikipedia similar to the block in June 2004.”

Flumesday noted that the 2004 block was rumored to have come in response to an article posted on the site as the country approached the 15th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.

“There has been much speculation over the cause of the block,” writes Wikipedia. “Possible reasons offered include controversial articles in Wikipedia itself and recent controversial events in the news that Wikipedia has covered, though as of now none of these are confirmed.”

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