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November 15, 2006

« Could you even imagine our new Congress doing this | Main | What really drives regional economic development? »

While most of us don't live under state run censorship, we should always be asking just how open our society and organizations are. Apparently some Chinese Communist Party Officials are doing just that.

According to a report in the WSJ, Wikipedia is up and running in China and is a huge hit. This open platform tool is quickly building a large community according to the piece (sub required). From the Journal,

"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.

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, without explanation.

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 administrator."



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