[Foundation-l] heavily biased BS (Fwd: [Wikizh-l] Chinese-language Wikipedia presents different view of history)
shizhao at gmail.com
Fri Dec 1 01:24:40 UTC 2006
This article NO NYT, is IHT. article of NYT published today.
2006/12/1, roc <sdnyroc at gmail.com>:
> FYI. An article by NYT senior writer Mr. Howard French on the
> difference between Chinese and English Wikipedias was published on the
> International Herald Tribune yesterday at
> http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/11/29/news/wiki.php and
> http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/11/29/business/wiki.php. Many Chinese
> Wikipedians were extremely disappointed by the profound bias, shallow
> research, and jammed untrue descriptions. You can read the forwarded
> message from Lawrence Lo (Lorenzarius), and a blog entry from Joseph
> Wang (Roadrunner) at http://twofish.wordpress.com/. There were also
> private communications from other Chinese Wikipedians on their similar
> opinions .
> The take-home messages are:
> 1) Chinese Wikipedia has and conforms to a high standard of NPOV, and
> Chinese Wikipedians take this policy seriously.
> 2) There is no such thing called "self-censorship" at Chinese
> Wikipedia; indeed any intention for such practice at Chinese Wikipedia
> will be denounced by most Chinese Wikipedians.
> 3) Chinese Wikipedia is written by people from various places of the
> world, including Mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Asia, America,
> Europe, etc. Indeed, editors from Mainland China are disproportionally
> scarce because of the current block obviously imposed by the PRC
> government (though it never admitted that).
> I am not going to list all the false/misleading statements in the
> report, as it is super easy to identify chunks of them by any one who
> is able to read the following Wikipedia articles in both English and
> Chinese. There Wikipedia articles were used as examples in the report.
> If you like, check both the current and past versions when the report
> was prepared/published.
> By the way, the part of Taiwan's history cited in this IHT report from
> English Wikipedia and deemed correct was actually wrong. Luckily, that
> part in the actual English Wikipedia article has been corrected in
> last August.
> Best regards,
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: Lawrence Lo <lorenzarius at gmail.com>
> Date: 2006/11/29 上午 11:21
> Subject: Re: [Wikizh-l] Chinese-language Wikipedia presents different
> view of history
> To: Andrew Lih <andrew.lih at gmail.com>
> Cc: wikizh-l at wikimedia.org
> I call this report biased BS. A wiki as we all know is continuously
> evolving, singling one edition of one article does not prove anything.
> For instance the last sentences in the opening paragraph of the
> current edition
> of the article in question now reads:
> He [Mao] was also the initiator of a series of political movements
> such as the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, resulting
> in the abnormal deaths of many Mainland people and great destructions
> to many Chinese cultural and historical monuments. He had a great
> influence on the 20th century's China and the world.
> And obviously omission does not equal self-censorship. Self-censorship
> is when a person knows something but intentionally avoids to mention
> it. But IMO the more realistic situation with most Mainland
> contributors is that they don't know that "something" to begin with.
> When a man is taught since birth that "A is right", how can you
> criticize him for not knowing that somebody in the other part of the
> world thinks that "B is right"? In fact, the Chinese Wikipedia is a
> great place for people from different parts of the Chinese-speaking
> world to get to know things that we didn't know, to understands things
> from the other perspectives.
> On 11/29/06, Andrew Lih <andrew.lih at gmail.com> wrote:
> > FYI, some of our own famous ZH Wikipedians mentioned...
> > http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/11/29/news/wiki.php
> > Chinese-language Wikipedia presents different view of history
> > By Howard W. French
> > The New York Times
> > Just who was Mao Zedong?
> > According to the English-language version of Wikipedia, the popular
> > online encyclopedia, he was a victorious military and political leader
> > who founded China's modern Communist state. He was also a man many saw
> > as "a mass murderer, holding his leadership accountable for the deaths
> > of tens of millions of innocent Chinese."
> > Switch to Wikipedia in Chinese, and one discovers a very different
> > man. There, Mao Zedong's reputation is unsullied by any mention of a
> > death toll in the great purges of the 1950s and 1960s, or for what
> > many historians call the greatest famine in human history.
> > In recent weeks, the Chinese government has demonstrated its hostility
> > toward the emergence of a credible source of reference material that
> > escapes its control by frequently blocking access to Wikipedia, whose
> > Chinese version, though still far smaller than its English-language
> > counterpart, is growing by leaps and bounds.
> > But on sensitive questions of China's modern history or on hot-button
> > issues, the Chinese version diverges so dramatically from its English
> > counterpart that it sometimes reads as if it were approved by the
> > censors themselves.
> > This gulf in information and perspective comes across powerfully in
> > the entry on Mao, which is consistently one of the most frequently
> > searched and edited topics in the Chinese version, and in the entry on
> > historical watersheds, like the Tiananmen Square massacre, the Great
> > Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution.
> > Chinese Wikipedia users and critics say that the differences highlight
> > the resilience here of a system of information control whose reach
> > goes well beyond simple censorship.
> > In each of its language versions, Wikipedia is collaboratively written
> > and edited by online enthusiasts, and contributors to the
> > Chinese-language site explain the differences in content by citing the
> > powerful influence of Chinese education, which often provides a neatly
> > sanitized national perspective on sensitive aspects of the country's
> > past.
> > This parochialism is reinforced by the blocking of foreign Web sites,
> > and by the conformism of the carefully censored mass media.
> > Alternative viewpoints are sometimes available, but usually only to a
> > restricted circle of people who have the means and determination to
> > seek them out.
> > For some, the Chinese version of Wikipedia was intended as just such a
> > resource, but its tame approach to sensitive topics has sparked a
> > fierce debate in the world of online mavens over its objectivity and
> > thoroughness.
> > In a recent discussion on the encyclopedia's Web site about the Mao
> > legacy, a user with the online name Manchurian Tiger wrote, "If anyone
> > can prove that Mao's political movements didn't kill so many people,
> > I'm willing to delete the wording that 'millions of people were
> > killed.'" Rather than contribute to encyclopedias, those who wish to
> > pay tribute to Mao, he added, should "go to his mausoleum."
> > Another user replied angrily: "If you want to release your emotions,
> > use a bulletin board. Wikipedia is not your toilet." In the end, the
> > entry on Mao included no death toll from either famine or political
> > purges.
> > Indeed, in its present form, the Chinese Wikipedia introduction to Mao
> > Zedong could hardly be more anodyne: "One of the main founders and
> > leaders of the Communist Party of China, the People's Liberation Army
> > and the People's Republic of China," it reads. "He introduced a series
> > of political movements such as the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural
> > Revolution. He had a great influence over 20th-century China and the
> > world."
> > On the evidence of entries like this, for the moment, the fight over
> > editorial direction of Wikipedia in Chinese is being won by
> > enthusiasts who practice self-censorship.
> > "Most of the people who contribute to Wikipedia rarely touch upon
> > political topics," said Yuan Mingli, a frequent contributor from
> > Shanghai. "They prefer to write about things like technology. There
> > are other things in life."
> > Others denounce compromises on content as a deviation from the
> > original mission of Wikipedia, which they say is to spread reliable
> > information and to seek truth. In any case, they add, self- censorship
> > has already proved naïve because the government still frequently
> > blocks access for most Chinese Internet users.
> > "There is a lot of confusion about whether they should obey the
> > neutral point of view or offer some compromises to the government,"
> > said Isaac Mao, a well-known Chinese blogger and user of the
> > encyclopedia. "To the local Wikipedians, the first objective is to
> > make it well-known among Chinese, to get people to understand the
> > principles of Wikipedia step by step, and not to get the thing blocked
> > by the government. The government doesn't buy into their attitude."
> > After Mao Zedong, few questions are treated as more sacrosanct in
> > China than the status of Taiwan, which every pupil is taught is
> > irrevocably part of China. To publicly suggest that Taiwanese have any
> > historical basis for asserting their independence from China would be
> > a career-ending offense for anyone in academia or in the media.
> > The English-language version of the encyclopedia speaks of a Japanese
> > shipwreck off Taiwan in 1871, in which 54 crew members were beheaded
> > by Taiwanese aborigines. Japan demanded compensation from China, only
> > to be told that Taiwan was not within China's jurisdiction. The
> > Chinese-language entry on Taiwan, meanwhile, is silent on the
> > jurisdiction question.
> > Similarly, the English-language Wikipedia mentions the settlement of
> > Taiwan by aborigines who are genetically related to Malaysians, about
> > 4,000 years ago. It also places the first meaningful settlement of the
> > island by Chinese in the 16th century.
> > The Chinese version of Wikipedia, though, merely speaks of cultural
> > affinities with Malaysians and speculates about the possible
> > exploration of the island by Chinese as far back as the third century.
> > A parallel, and purely homegrown, effort at creating an online
> > encyclopedia in China, Baidu Baike, skirts controversies like these
> > altogether. Baidu Baike, which is owned by the biggest Internet search
> > engine company in China, asserts that Taiwan's original inhabitants
> > "came from mainland China directly or indirectly," and not from
> > Malaysia.
> > Similarly, a user who searches for the Tiananmen Square massacre will
> > find no entry.
> > As online reference sites grow in popularity here, Baidu Baike
> > benefits from government efforts to block Wikipedia, just as the same
> > company's search engine once benefited from similar blockage of
> > Google.
> > Baidu Baike, much of whose content appears to be copied directly from
> > Wikipedia, would not release detailed user statistics, saying only
> > that it has "several million" users each day. A spokeswoman for the
> > company, Zhang Yan, said it is guided by the editorial policy of not
> > "judging the existing national system with malice."
> > Asked to explain what this meant, Zhang said, "Anyone who is Chinese knows."
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