[WikiEN-l] Tearing down the Chinese Firewall

Jimmy Wales jwales at wikia.com
Sun May 14 16:01:53 UTC 2006

Prasad J wrote:
> I agree with Timwi, encouraging Chinese citizens to break the laws of
> their country is probably not the right thing to do, even though such
> forms of censorship seem unfair. Also, what if the Chinese authorities
> manage to track down those who break their censorship laws? Let us not
> forget what the government does to  "dissidents" in China. And what is
> the press gets hold of this? The issue of Wikipedia and Chinese
> Government censorship has been in the news. If we start encouraging
> Chinese Wikipedians to break the law, it will only mean bad publicity
> for the Foundation.

It should be noted that Erik posted his own thoughts on his own website
as a private person.  The Foundation officially neither encourages nor
discourages people from doing what they need to do to get around the
Chinese firewall.

Our official position is that the block is in error, that there is
nothing about Wikipedia in general which fits into the category of
things that are normally blocked, and we hope that the block will
eventually be lifted when we are able to reach the right decision makers
to explain the situation to them.

If they want to filter certain pages, we do not support that, but
obviously it would be a lot better than what they are doing now, which
is blocking everything.  The Chinese intellectual who has studied
Swahili and desires to work in a charitable effort to help Africans by
bringing uncontroversial knowledge to them in their own language is
current blocked from doing so -- this is certainly not consistent with
what the Chinese government is trying to achieve.

Speaking personally, and not as the voice of the foundation, which takes
no position on these matters, people who take personal risks to edit
Wikipedia from places where doing so may be illegal or dangerous to
them, are heroes to me.

I was recently awarded a "Pioneer Award" by the EFF.   In my acceptance
speech, I said, I am not the real pioneer, because it is very easy for
me.  I live in the United States, firmly protected by the First
Amendment, and I am celebrated in the culture as being a "prophet" and
"pioneer" and other absurdly kind adjectives.  It is easy for me.

The real heroes of this movement live in China, Iran, etc.


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