China's Great Firewall Blocks The Entirety Of Wikipedia


China is known for its censorship of certain websites. The country has long blocked Google, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to name a few, and this time, the Great Firewall of China has added Wikipedia to its list.

Previously, China has blocked Wikipedia to varying degrees over the years, but as censorship appears to be farther-reaching, the Open Observatory of Network Interference report has shown that China started blocking Wikipedia in all languages since April, and not just the Chinese-language version as has been the case since 2015.

China does this by using DNS injections to prevent its citizens from accessing the online encyclopedia, according to a report from the Open Observatory of Network Interference.

"In late April, the Wikimedia Foundation determined that Wikipedia was no longer accessible in China," explained Samantha Lien, communications manager for the Wikipedia Foundation.

"After closely analyzing our internal traffic reports, we can confirm that Wikipedia is currently blocked across all language versions."

Wikipedia China

China is no stranger to surveillance and clamping down internet speech.

The Chinese government has also long attempted to control what citizens could see and say online. But the nation's censorship efforts have ramped up considerably since the 2012 election of President Xi Jinping.

As for Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia joins a list of about 10,000 websites that are already banned in the country. Wikimedia which runs the online encyclopedia, said that it received "no notice" of the move.

The block essentially means that China has made it completely illegal for its citizens to access one of the internet’s most extensive sources of information.

While this can give the government more control over the information its citizens see, the block on Wikipedia could nonetheless be more painful than some efforts, as it cuts off access to a wealth of knowledge.

"When one country, region, or culture cannot join the global conversation on Wikipedia, the entire world is poorer," Lien added.

When the news came out, there has been no certainty regarding why China decided to block all of Wikipedia.

But the move apparently comes just weeks before the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests, which culminated in a violent government crackdown. China typically blocks access to specific web pages referencing the tragedy, but the country can't do that on Wikipedia after the site switched to HTTPS.

As a workaround, it is said that China decided to just do a blanket ban over the site, as the only way to prevent people from reading content.

It is also said that there are other reasons too.

Like China in celebrating the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China later this 2019. And back in 2017, China said that it wanted to make its own online encyclopedia with more than 300,000 articles from 20,000 scholars.

Related: China Wants To Remove Smoking, Tattoos And Bikinis From Its Internet