China blocks all language editions of Wikipedia

A celebrated image of a man trying to stop the tanks entering the square in Beijing

A celebrated image of a man trying to stop the tanks entering the square in Beijing

China has expanded its ban on Wikipedia to block the community-edited online encyclopedia in all available languages, the BBC reports.

China previously blocked Wikipedia in the Chinese language - which is hosted at "zh.wikipedia.org" - but it has now extended this ban to all wikipedia.org editions.

The Wikimedia foundation said in a statement that it did not receive any notice of the censorship.

Internet researchers from the Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI), which is run by a USA -based non-profit, said earlier this month that editions of Wikipedia in several languages had been banned as of April. After closely analyzing our internal traffic reports, we can confirm that Wikipedia is now blocked across all language versions.

Certain websites and the Chinese language edition of the internet's free encyclopedia have not been accessible in China for several years already. Apart from Wikipedia, sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram are also not accessible in China.

Images could also be considered taboo, Smith said.

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"At the end of the day, the content that really matters is Chinese-language content".

AFP could not open any of Wikipedia's versions in China on Wednesday (May 15).

'When one country, region, or culture can not join the global conversation on Wikipedia, the entire world is poorer, ' Lien adds. 'It symbolises the fear that the Chinese authorities have of the truth'.

The ban came ahead of the 30th anniversary, on June 4, of deadly protests in Beijing's Tiananmen Square.

"A picture is worth a thousand words, and there is no dearth of Tiananmen-related imagery on the Wikipedia website", he said.

The Chinese government regards the event as very politically sensitive and strengthens censorship every year around the date. Authorities have long played the element of political liberalism in that movement.

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