China moves on from partial to blanket ban on Wikipedia

Representation Image.  Image:  Chris McGrath/Getty Images

DHARAMSALA, 15 May: China has moved on from partial ban to blanket ban on Wikipedia to block the free online encyclopaedia, created and edited by volunteers around the world in all available languages.

“All language editions of Wikipedia have been blocked in mainland China since April, BBC reported citing the Wikimedia Foundation, an Internet censorship researcher.

Wikipedia had joined thousands of other websites which cannot be accessed in China, the report said citing the American non-profit and charitable organization headquartered in San Francisco, California.

China has previously banned the Chinese language version of the site, but the block has now been expanded since late April, the report added.

“In late April, the Wikimedia Foundation determined that Wikipedia was no longer accessible in China. After closely analysing our internal traffic reports, we can confirm that Wikipedia is currently blocked across all language versions,” the report said quoting the statement released by the Wikimedia.

China now joins the likes of Turkey and Venezuela where the site has been blocked since 2017 and 2019 respectively.

Internet in China is being heavily censored and regulated under the Communist Party’s cyber-security law. The content on the internet is being routinely censored to weed out issues the party deems sensitive and taboo.

Social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are blocked in China along with google search engine and major foreign media outlets.

Netizens in China are often forced to use virtual private networks, or VPN, to get around its heavy internet censorship; the great firewall.

Meanwhile. the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has ranked China at 177 out of 180 countries it analysed for press freedom in its 2019 press freedom index. China has gone down a slot to 177th compared to last year.

Additionally, China is attempting to export censorship to infiltrate foreign media in an attempt to deter criticism and spread its propaganda, the RSF has stated based on its findings.

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