[Wikipedia-l] Re: wikipedia in China

Anthere anthere9 at yahoo.com
Fri Sep 24 11:40:42 UTC 2004

Jiong Sheng a écrit:
>>Now... I ask the question. Why would it be shocking to provide a
>>"""short""" article on this board issue (the closing of the board in
>>China) and invite the reader to have further information by following
>>external links ?
> The problem is no one in a wiki can stop anyone else from editing an
> article. A "short" article on any subject, especial those closely
> related to the people, would soon be expanded by contributors. And I
> don't like the idea of self-censorship too: for a Chinese national
> living in Singapore for almost five years, I learn from my own
> experiences that self-censorship sometimes can be even worse than
> government-imposed censorships: people would just be too concerned if
> their opinions or descriptions have "crossed the line", and often
> result in more conservative writings.
> I think I would accept the result where some of the "sensitive"
> articles to be filtered off automatically. These articles would remain
> in Chinese Wikipedia, but mainland Chinese would not be able to see
> these pages (unless through proxy). It would be much better than
> banning the whole site, or periodically blocking us on very "special"
> dates. However this is not something that we can decide.
> Chinese government is fascist? No, but I believe most Chinese would
> want to see a more liberal and democratic China as soon as possible,
> though not through revolutions or violence as in 1989.
> User:formulax

I understand all that very much formulax. There is no easy way. But I 
believe more in attempts to "turn the governement opinion" in a way to 
have more friendly feelings toward wikipedia, than in forcing attempts 
such as
* sending a press release to shame it
* calling for a lawyer (a solution suggested last june) to attack it

There is no good path imho in use of force and shame.

Obviously, trying to apply things like
* focusing on articles showing the greatness of the country
* being careful on topics likely to raise censorship
are no easy things to do. People have to agree collectively to do so, 
and people have to not censor themselves more than necessarily.

It is difficult.

I might add something though. When the encyclopedists Diderot and co 
wrote the Encyclopédie, they had to be agreeable to the King. For many 
articles, there was no upfront criticism, the criticism of our monarchy 
was quite subtile, seen in the cross links, in the references provided.

Similarly, famous writers, such as Molière or Voltaire succeeded to play 
  or publish ferocious criticisms of a governement system which "was" 
applying censorship. They succeeded to do it by using various paths, 
most not using direct confrontation.

I guess using such methods avoided them to be plain put in jail and have 
their head severed, and allowed their genious writing to cross the 
centuries and have impact. That was worth it.

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