[Wikipedia-l] Re: wikipedia in China

Erik Moeller erik_moeller at gmx.de
Fri Sep 24 00:35:00 UTC 2004

> I totally agree with you here.

> I do not mean chinese editors should not talk about the controversial
> issues, but if they should also take *great care* to talk about the good
> points above mentionned.

I have to disagree here, but I also have to say that I consider the  
Chinese government nothing but fascism with a red touch. Frankly, I don't  
see Wikipedia working in such an environment, unless we can provide true  
anonymity for authors and make the site censorship-resistant, i.e. it  
would have to be hosted on something like Freenet. I believe Wikimedia  
should definitely pursue such a strategy, but see little hope of  
convincing the rest of you guys of this.

I can see your point about hypocrisy, but I have been a consistent  
advocate against any type of self-censorship on any Wikipedia. "With the  
first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censored, the first  
thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably."

Call me unrealistic, but I'd prefer it if the Chinese Wikipedia upheld its  
freedom of expression, even if that means that it won't be available to  
most of the Chinese citizens. Education is meaningless when it is  
immediately instrumentalized and molded according to the demands of a  
repressive government. It will be unavailable or turned into propaganda in  
all the areas where it matters most.

If we take a stand for freedom here, then perhaps this will drive more  
people to realize the true importance of freedom of speech on the  
Internet. Let's not give in to those who would have people not think for  
themselves, whether they're religious fundamentalists in the United States  
or so-called communists in China. And somehow I have the feeling that our  
work will outlive both.

Our subtitle, "The Free Encyclopedia", should never invite sarcasm and  
cynicism. It should be taken literally.



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