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Self-Censoring 'Chinese Wikipedia' Launched

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the taking-the-wik-out-of-wiki dept.

429

Billosaur writes "New Scientist is reporting that Baidu, China's largest search engine, is launching its own version of Wikipedia. The site, Baidupedia, differs from the more well-known Wikipedia in that it is self-censoring." From the article: "Unlike Wikipedia, which allows anyone to create and modify entries, Baidupedia is censored by the company to avoid offending the Chinese government. Entries to the encyclopaedia must first pass a filtering system before being added to the site. Baidupedia bars users from including any 'malicious evaluation of the current national system', any 'attack on government institutions', and prevents the 'promotion of a dispirited or negative view of life'."

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You gotta love (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15312056)

Living in the liberal utopia that is a communist nation. What a wonderfull system it's proven to be each and every time it's been tried.

evil (2, Insightful)

flogic42 (948616) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312067)

This sort of censorship is pure unequivocal evil. The Chinese government has no right to do that under any circumstances.

Re:evil (2, Informative)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312158)

The Chinese government has no right to do that under any circumstances.

It is my impression that one has every right to fork Wikipedia or otherwise imitate it.

Now, restricting access to one site over the other is a completely different story.

Re:evil (1)

Carnildo (712617) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312236)

Is it an actual fork of cn.wikipedia.org, or are they starting their encyclopedia from scratch?

Re:evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15312186)

Why is this evil?

Because it goes against what we know and what we THINK is right?

I'm not saying I agree with it. But it seems to me most people say its "evil" just because they don't agree with it, which by its own definition would be "evil".

Sure, maybe they don't have as many freedoms there as we do here.
But they still live, they go about their lives ignorant of the outside world.

Go ahead! Flame away!

Re:evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15312408)

People who believe in absolute morality at any significant level are...stupid. All morals are relative and as such the only way to judge morality is with respect to personal beliefs (whether or not those judging realize this or admit to it is another issue). There's nothing inherently evil about this, since it is the only way to make any moral judgement at all.

Therefore, I choose to believe that China's censorship is wrong because it conflicts with my morality, which is as I just explained is the only correct morality, so it is in fact evil.

Moral relativists be damned!

Re:evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15312501)

so it is in fact evil.

Don't you mean so it is in my opinion evil.?

Re:evil (1)

TheCrackRat (589015) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312200)

From TFA summary:
...Baidupedia is censored by the company to...
The Chinese government is not responsible for the censorship.

Re:evil (1)

Zerbs (898056) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312253)

But think of all the government censors that will be out of a job once self censoring technologies take hold in more Chineese companies.

Re:evil (4, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312288)

"The Chinese government is not responsible for the censorship."

Let me get this straight...

Because a company chooses to pre-emptively censor its content to avoid government action against it, the government is not responsible for the censorship? Are you kidding?

Do you think Baidu would censor this wiki if it wasn't the policy of China to censor content and prosecute (or otherwise handle) offenders?

That's afwul, awful, apologist logic.

Glass houses and throwing stones and all that (I'm in the US) but really...

Re:evil (2, Interesting)

Internet Ronin (919897) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312348)

Riiiiiight... Would you like to buy a bridge from me? Great deal, supplies are limited...

Seriously, you can't honestly believe that the reason that this is being censored is in no way related to China's policy regarding information dissemination? Granted the company is choosing to go along with it, a morally repugnant stance IMHO, but the Chinese government IS responsible.

Cultural Bias, Ethnocentricity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15312203)

Cultural bias is interpreting and judging phenomena in terms particular to one's own culture [wikipedia.org] . This is a danger in any field of knowledge that claims objectivity [wikipedia.org] and universality, such as philosophy [wikipedia.org] and the natural sciences [wikipedia.org] . The problem of cultural bias is central to social and human sciences, such as economics [wikipedia.org] , psychology [wikipedia.org] , anthropology [wikipedia.org] and sociology [wikipedia.org] , which have had to develop methods and theories to compensate for or eliminate cultural bias. [...]

Numerous such biases are believed to exist, concerning cultural norms for color, location of body parts, mate selection, concepts of justice [wikipedia.org] , linguistic [wikipedia.org] and logical validity, acceptability of evidence, and taboos. In brief, any normative belief of a human being seems to be caused by culture, and thus can be reasonably isolated as a cultural bias. See goodness and value theory [wikipedia.org] .

Ethnocentricity is the tendency to look at the world primarily from the perspective of one's own ethnic culture. Ironically, ethnocentrism may be something that all cultures have in common. People often feel this occurring during what some call culture shock [wikipedia.org] .

This term was coined by William Graham Sumner [wikipedia.org] , a social evolutionist [wikipedia.org] and professor of Political and Social Science at Yale University [wikipedia.org] . He defined it as the viewpoint that "one's own group is the center of everything," against which all other groups are judged. Ethnocentrism often entails the belief that one's own race or ethnic group is the most important and/or that some or all aspects of its culture are superior to those of other groups. Within this ideology, individuals will judge other groups in relation to their own particular ethnic group or culture, especially with concern to language [wikipedia.org] , behaviour, customs, and religion [wikipedia.org] . These ethnic distinctions and sub-divisions serve to define each ethnicity [wikipedia.org] 's unique cultural identity [wikipedia.org] .

Re:evil (2, Insightful)

alx5000 (896642) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312537)

Touching a philosophical issue, the question of censorship being evil or not, relies on which side of the line you are on; sure Western civilizations mosly despise its use (let alone its abuse), but being China a country with 1100 million people, I think that if they're political education supports censorship, even with actual opposition, it is not that evil. I'm not sure if I'm making my point clear: even it seems evil to you, and to many others, it's just a point of view, it doesn't matter how logically clear it does seem to you. Besides, China isn't a HR supporter, so legitimizes it a little bit further.

And since they make their laws for their country, yeah, they've got the right (not to mention the means) to carry things like this over.

Don't get me wrong, though; I completely agree with your background idea. Fuck censorship. But in the meantime...

Well... (1)

ral8158 (947954) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312074)

'Nothing for you to see here, move along'

But..... (4, Funny)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312076)

Unpossible!

Everyone knows the USA is much worse than china...

Re:But..... (1)

artemis67 (93453) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312385)

Sure looks like there's already a lot of questionable content [baidu.com] on there...

Re:But..... (2, Funny)

biocute (936687) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312451)

Sorry to be a spelling nazi, but everyone knows that you should use "m" if a word starts with "p", like impassable, impotent....

So it should be umpossible, not unpossible.

To the contrary... (4, Insightful)

Lendrick (314723) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312464)

Everyone knows that the USA is great as long as it's better than China! National wiretapping? That's fine, it's not as bad as China! "Free Speech Zones"? In China, they don't even get free speech, so that's okay too! Imprisoning citizens indefinitely without trial? In China, they do it a lot more!

Yay, go USA! We're Not As Bad As China (TM)!

In communist china... (4, Funny)

danpsmith (922127) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312080)

...the wikipedia edits you!

Re:In communist china... (4, Interesting)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312352)

Scarey enough, that was going to be my next question. If you attempt to submit an article, and it gets edited, does your user account and IP go onto a government watch list?

-Rick

Re:In communist china... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15312388)

In soviet Russia, Slashdot posts on fucking idiots!

Re:In communist china... (1)

Hogwash McFly (678207) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312437)

Or nominates your for permanent deletion, your family getting billed for the bandwidth.

Re:In communist china... (2, Funny)

kibbylow (257730) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312465)

Apparently "Chinese Slashdot" http://slashdot.cn/ [slashdot.cn] is self-censoring as well.

I tried to load the page, but I get lots of '????' and squares where articles should be.... :)

noob (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15312082)

noob

Let me guess.. (2, Insightful)

Homology (639438) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312098)

there are plenty of Western companies that will happily develop the technology. For a modest fee, of course. I'm sure that Yahoo have much to contribute on how to stiffle free speech for the sake of profit.

Re:Let me guess.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15312179)

s/Yahoo/Google/f

Re:Let me guess.. (1)

winkydink (650484) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312181)

Do you mean as opposed to say Google or Microsoft? They are all whores for the almighty revenue. It's called being in business.

Do Not Taunt (3, Funny)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312107)

Happy Fun Wiki!

I Love Articles Like This (-1, Flamebait)

Cranky Weasel (946893) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312111)

It's a chance to read a whole bunch of responses by contributors who are absolutely convinced that the values and beliefs they hold are the ones that should be universally observed.

Re:I Love Articles Like This (4, Interesting)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312218)

I'm afraid we consider that a negative and dispirited post.

It's the wall for you. Smile. Your children will be with you. Only one of them will have a real bullet.

KFG

Re:I Love Articles Like This (1)

Dis*abstraction (967890) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312233)

That's why I tag some article summaries (not this one) with "orientalism" and "culturalbias." These tags haven't quite caught on yet, as far as I can tell.

Re:I Love Articles Like This (5, Interesting)

Golias (176380) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312262)

So then are you taking the position that the high esteem for free speech is *not* a value that should be universally shared?

That it's not okay to speak out against the values of the culture you are in?

Somebody mod this guy down!!!

Er... wait...

Re:I Love Articles Like This (1)

Horatio_Hellpop (926706) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312268)

So ... you feel that freedom of speech isn't a inherent right for the Chinese?

Re:I Love Articles Like This (1, Troll)

Cranky Weasel (946893) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312349)

So ... you feel that freedom of speech isn't a inherent right for the Chinese?

That's correct. I don't believe that freedom of speech is an inherent right. Neither do western governments. If you don't believe me, try reading pedophile poetry in a kindergarten class. Or try spreading state secrets if you come across one.

More to the point, I think freedom of speech might work at one time and in one place, and not at all in other times and places. I'm very much a believer in moral subjectivity.

What I DON'T agree with is trying to impress your own beliefs on another society just because you think yours are better than theirs.

Re:I Love Articles Like This (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312423)

What I DON'T agree with is trying to impress your own beliefs on another society just because you think yours are better than theirs.
So, you don't agree with, e.g., trying to convince people not to impress their beliefs on other societies because they thin their idea is better than that societies, since supporting that would involve you trying to impress your values on their society because you think yours are better than theirs?

Re:I Love Articles Like This (1)

Dis*abstraction (967890) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312403)

I challenge you to show me a culture where anyone can say anything at anytime, and get away without suffering repercussions imposed upon them by their state or their society of peers. Here in the West we have laws against slander and libel, not to mention yelling radioactive holocaust in crowded cinemas. Some cultural regimes take this a step further, actively enforcing bans on e.g. Holocaust denial.

Ultimately the difference is where you decide to draw the line. And if China's citizens do indeed consider it worthwhile to restrict freedom of political speech to further their other goals--say, political stability in a country currently undergoing enormous transformations, not least of them rural-urban migrations unprecedented in human history; or even simple social cohesion, a goal anthropologists tell us the peoples of modern China have considered noble for longer than Greco-Roman tradition has even existed--then it's not for us to judge, except perhaps to note that they don't share our value systems constructed around individualistic freedoms.

Re:I Love Articles Like This (2, Insightful)

Internet Ronin (919897) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312273)

You realize, of course, that people are criticizing a government that is absolutely convinced that the values and beliefs they hold are the ones that should be universally observed, and they WILL KILL YOU [rollins.edu] for it?
I think you can see the difference here... Besides until you can tell me you've read the Analects, as well as the various other works of classical Chinese scholasticism, I don't believe you're in ANY position to claim an understanding of Chinese ways. Period. ~a - b.a. History, focus: China.

Re:I Love Articles Like This (0, Troll)

Cranky Weasel (946893) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312509)

Besides until you can tell me you've read the Analects, as well as the various other works of classical Chinese scholasticism, I don't believe you're in ANY position to claim an understanding of Chinese ways. Period. ~a - b.a. History, focus: China.

Okay, now where did I claim to have any understanding of Chinese ways? I didn't even mention China.

Oh... I get it. This way you can bring up workds like scholasticism and appear "lurn-ed". Well, good job then.

Re:I Love Articles Like This (2, Insightful)

Mr.Sharpy (472377) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312305)

I challenge you to make an argument in which a government that censors its people is in the right. Convince me that my personal beliefs valuing freedom of expression and speech should not apply in China or anywhere else.

Re:I Love Articles Like This (1, Insightful)

Cranky Weasel (946893) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312434)

I challenge you to make an argument in which a government that censors its people is in the right. Convince me that my personal beliefs valuing freedom of expression and speech should not apply in China or anywhere else.

I can't, because you clearly believe in the idea that a social construct such as freedom of speech has some fundamental, inherent "rightness", and I do not.

There is no possible agreement between us on the topic.

Re:I Love Articles Like This (3, Insightful)

gsfprez (27403) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312374)

>It's a chance to read a whole bunch of responses by contributors who are absolutely
>convinced that the values and beliefs they hold are the ones that should be universally
>observed.

i find your beliefs are wrong, should not be observed and belive you should be silenced...

when you say that intolerant views should be quashed, you are intolerant youself.

you cannot simultanrously hold that value systems which silence opposition with threat of death are on a level playing field with those that allow diverse oppinions.

put another way - If you silence intolerant speech, then you are far worse than the one who speaks intolerantly.

By definition, you cannot speak ill of Chinese policies in China - which places it on equal ground or superior ground to other systems in China. In the US (and some Euro countries), the subject can be debated - therefore, by simple logic, whatever system the US has is better than what China has.

how can i say that?

I'm in the US.

Re:I Love Articles Like This (1)

Dis*abstraction (967890) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312532)

No, he's presenting his viewpoint in a morally prescriptive language, which does not automatically render it invalid. It's simply a framework for communicating so that others, who do subscribe to such prescription, may derive understanding. The self-inconsistency you perceive only applies within this framework, which itself constrains the range of possible meaning. The usefulness of his viewpoint comes directly from its descriptive applicability, which even in this limiting external framework would appear to be far greater than the traditional Western moral absolutism that values freedom of speech, freedom of movement, etc. above all else.

My values are correct (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15312414)

There is such a thing as right and wrong in the world; some people are just too cowardly to speak up and state that.

Re:I Love Articles Like This (1)

2short (466733) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312428)

Values and beleifs like "People who wish to critisize their government should be allowed to do so"? Yes. I am absolutely convinced that that is a principle which should be universally observed. If you'd care to give us some idea why you think this principle is merely a quaint artifact of my western background, I'll be happy to consider your arguments (though I can't imagine what they would be). Until you do, I think I shall remain convinced.

Democracy isn't like that (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312491)

contributors who are absolutely convinced that the values and beliefs they hold are the ones that should be universally observed


When one defends democracy, one stands for the principle that each nation may choose the set of values and beliefs they should observe. It's not Americans and Europeans who fight for democracy in China that are fighting against the right of Chinese people to observe their own values and beliefs.

It's an excellent resource (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15312112)

I looked up "abominable snowman" and it told me it was "a large primate-like creature supposedly living in the mountains of censored."

Brave New China? (4, Insightful)

guitaristx (791223) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312120)

prevents the 'promotion of a dispirited or negative view of life'.

Yeah, they'll give the breakers of this rule a healthy dose of soma [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Brave New China? (5, Funny)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312153)

Naaaaaaaaaaah! The beatings will simply continue until moral improves.

KFG

Re:Brave New China? (1)

imthesponge (621107) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312161)

Quit being such a pessimist!

Where have I heard that line before?

Re:Brave New China? (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312223)

I guess my signature would be banned there.

Re:Brave New China? (1)

itistoday (602304) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312353)

and prevents the 'promotion of a dispirited or negative view of life'

You WILL be happy or else! Can't you see the logic in that??? Damn pessimists.

Re:Brave New China? (1)

Hogwash McFly (678207) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312472)

Where do you go for your Soma holiday?

The beginning of the "Wiki Wars" (2, Insightful)

Jerry (6400) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312126)

where the Western Wiki presents the Western cultural view of things and events, and the Chinese Wike presents what the Communist Dictators dictate.

How is that possible? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15312140)

If I had half a billion Chinese chicks to choose from, I wouldn't have a negative outllok on life!

Re:How is that possible? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15312184)

True, but it's finding one with tits above a B Cup that's the problem...

Re:How is that possible? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15312402)

Well, who needs more? It's the nipple that counts, and big tits are rarely firm!

Re:How is that possible? (1)

Hogwash McFly (678207) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312505)

Is this where the 'I Like Puffy Nipples' website guy comes in?

Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15312142)

"You're entitled to your own opinion, as long as it's ours."

But does it report the authors to the government? (3, Insightful)

Lead Butthead (321013) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312195)

Does it record the origin of the offending articles and report them to the government, or merely deletes othe offending articles?

That's not a Chinese Wikipedia. (5, Funny)

GungaDan (195739) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312206)

That's a Chinese Fox News.

Re:That's not a Chinese Wikipedia. (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312266)

Stop slandering...Baidupedia.

Orlowski would love this (5, Interesting)

FhnuZoag (875558) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312208)

The irony is that this is fairly close to what many western critics of Wikipedia propose. 'Moral responsibility', stronger 'editorial controls', protection of living people, 'accountability', anyone?

I guess this post is kinda flamebaity, but well...

Re:Orlowski would love this (1)

Erwos (553607) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312350)

That's a bit of a strawman argument, because most wikipedia critics aren't really proposing any of those things, except for the accountability.

Indeed, it's quite the opposite. The critics of Wikipedia are complaining that WP:OFFICE is now being used to protect living people (that Peppers guy), clamp down on stuff that'll get them sued ("moral responsibility"), and so forth. If they had more accountability, they'd actually have to defend their actions.

-Erwos

Bottleneck? (1)

reed (19777) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312209)



foreach page in wikipedia:
    baidupedia.createPage(page)

See how long it takes for their censorship bureau to get out from under that...

   

Sounds like a plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15312306)

Oh no! Wikipedia is Unethical! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15312211)

Doing business in China!

Complying with censors! ...instead, they should have just said, "No, China, we won't do business with you! You can take your lack of a Wikipedia, and stuff it!" Or appealed to Congress... ...or something!

But not just cave in completely like that nefarious, horrible, evil, scandelous Google! Talk about in the pockets of government and industry..!

Censorship rights (5, Insightful)

pumpknhd (575415) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312222)

Flamebait me if you want, but companies DO have rights to censorship. Heck, Slashdot censors. Otherwise, every article here might be M$ bashing or Linux raves. Or, endless dupes (oh wait, this happens already). Back to my point, companies can censor if they want. Users just don't have to go there. Why go to Baidupedia when you can go to Wikipedia? Yes, there is a Chinese language section of Wikipedia. [wikipedia.org]

As far as I'm concerned, Chinese companies can censor all they want...so long as the government doesn't force them to use only Baidupedia and block Wikipedia.

By the way, Google owns 2% of Baidu [ucla.edu] . And as we all know, DO NO EVIL! (yes, full of sarcasm)

Re:Censorship rights (5, Informative)

Gossi (731861) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312311)

Just to clarify, the chinese government blocked Wikipedia back in 2005.

Re:Censorship rights (1)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312395)

"Heck, Slashdot censors. Otherwise, every article here might be M$ bashing or Linux raves. Or, endless dupes " - censorship and editorial judgement are two very different things. It's not a subtle or difficult-to-understand difference, either.

Re:Censorship rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15312531)

DO NO EVIL! (yes, full of sarcasm)--pumpknhd (575415)

I would like to remind you that their moto is in beta phase.

I praise the CHinese gov for this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15312243)

I welcome our new gook overlords. They have the right to surpress the population if it likes.
BTW COmmander Taco touches himself

Freedom Depends on the Citizens (5, Insightful)

reporter (666905) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312272)

News reports (like the recent one [newscientisttech.com] ) about censorship in China appear frequently in this forum. The best that we and other Westerners can do is to apply subtle pressure to the Chinese people, not just Beijing, to reform.

However, we can do little more.

Freedom in China ultimately depends on the citizenry. Barring external intervention, the future of a people are determined by the people. Period.

Back in 1989, Czechoslovakia had a population of about 15.6 million [wikipedia.org] . In November of that year, 800,000 citizens assembled in Prague and demanded freedom [wikipedia.org] . 800,000 is about 5% of the nation's population.

The story repeated itself in all of Eastern Europe. Once it was free from the external intervention of the Soviet Union, the Eastern Europeans collectively decided that they wanted freedom, and they got it. They forced their authoritarian governments out of power.

The story is quite different in China. No one is imposing authoritarian rule on China. If the Chinese people wanted to enjoy the same democracy and human rights that we have in the West, then the Chinese people could get democracy and human rights tomorrow. The problem is that most Chinese either support authoritarianism or are indifferent to it. President Hu Jintao (the dictator of China), all by himself, cannot impose authoritarian rule on China. Hu has a lot of supporters.

That is the difference between Eastern Europe and China. I respect the Eastern Europeans.

Re:Freedom Depends on the Citizens (2, Insightful)

Mr.Sharpy (472377) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312365)

If the Chinese people wanted to enjoy the same democracy and human rights that we have in the West, then the Chinese people could get democracy and human rights tomorrow. The problem is that most Chinese either support authoritarianism or are indifferent to it.

Alot of people don't want to die or go to prison. In the West where you currently have SOME freedom; killing of protestors wouldn't be tolerated. It would be just another day in China. Tiananmen Square, anyone?

Re:Freedom Depends on the Citizens (2, Insightful)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312420)


>Alot of people don't want to die or go to prison.

And we can't make the decision for them, but the bottom line is, as long as they are not willing to pay the price of freedom, they will not have it.

Re:Freedom Depends on the Citizens (5, Insightful)

Twanfox (185252) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312473)

Freedom in China ultimately depends on the citizenry. Barring external intervention, the future of a people are determined by the people. Period.

Not that I don't agree with you on this, I find that this statement is being said kind of ironic, given the situation in Iraq. I find the parallels and dichotomy staggering.

Iraq was a dictator-led state, governed by a brutal oppressor that would do whatever he had to in order to not only stay in power but advanced his own agenda. The US, invading under false pretenses, topples this government and assists in the formation of a representative democracy (or whatever failing system is being used in the US), and we have no quams about having done so, from the point of view of the US government.

China is a communist state, governed by a brutal government that uses censorship, isolationism, and propaganda (amungst other devices) to force compliance, obedience, and social growth from it's people. The US does NOTHING, dispite countless publicied human rights violations similar to those committed in Iraq. We state as above, if China's fate is to change, then the change must come from the people.

While I think something good came out of the Iraq invasion (no more Sadam), I think that we should not have invaded as we did. If Iraq was to be free, they were more likely to value that freedom if they took it themselves, just as China should.

Offtopic, I know, but an amusing parallel just the same.

Re:Freedom Depends on the Citizens (1)

manifoldronin (827401) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312476)

The story is quite different in China. No one is imposing authoritarian rule on China. If the Chinese people wanted to enjoy the same democracy and human rights that we have in the West, then the Chinese people could get democracy and human rights tomorrow.
You talk as if they never "wanted" it - It's not like they (at least some of them) didn't try it [wikipedia.org] , you know.

Re:Freedom Depends on the Citizens (5, Insightful)

Internet Ronin (919897) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312486)

Then clearly you haven't read much on China, except perhaps, with regards to current events.

You see, China has the longest unbroken history of any current civilization. The principles of Confucius, among others, I won't deny the effect of Siddartha or Lao Tzu however their focus was spiritual and Confucius was political (although that in and of itself is a misnomer, because a truly Confucian political system is one in which subtle, yet totalitarian control is exercised from the divine Father, through rites), still linger today.

I mean, if you think these sort of cultural bonds are easy to free yourself from, then try and figure out why English speakers still refer to the sun as 'rising.' I don't *think* people still believe it's a geocentric universe, but that leftover cultural and historical background is exerting pressure on the citizenry.

Now, compare China's 3000+ years of unbroken history with the fragmented mess that is Eastern Europe and you're talking about analogizing teflon fibers with yarn. Yes, I'm proud of the Czechs, they did a grand job, and the Chinese could take a page from their book, no doubt. The point is that until you can UNDERSTAND the Chinese perhaps you shouldn't bandy your 'respect' around like it was God's gift to give.

The Chinese piss me off all the time, but I understand how and why they get there, and trust me, they are deserving of our respect.

Re:Freedom Depends on the Citizens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15312522)

"The problem is that most Chinese either support authoritarianism or are indifferent to it"

Or *perhaps* they can remember the last time some folks tried to assemble in a square to protest about things - they got run over by tanks.

Re:Freedom Depends on the Citizens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15312552)

Back in 1989, Czechoslovakia had a population of about 15.6 million [wikipedia.org]. In November of that year, 800,000 citizens assembled in Prague and demanded freedom [wikipedia.org]. 800,000 is about 5% of the nation's population.
It was a great achievement and a testament to what can be done... however don't ignore that Western influence directly and indirectly set the stage to allow such things to take place. If it wasn't for the vast spending of citizens of the USoA (and other nations) the USSR wouldn't have been driven to the breaking point when it was.

The first rule of Baidupedia... (1)

GillBates0 (664202) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312286)

...you do not talk about the Baidupedia.

If unions are so bad for workers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15312295)

Why are companies so scared of unions if they are not good for the employee?

1984 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15312300)

I really wonder what the chinese (gov't) take on 1984 would be. The parallel are astounding. I bet they believe Winston figured it out rightly in the end.

Ah yes, malicious evaluation (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312312)

Baidupedia bars users from including any 'malicious evaluation of the current national system'

Malicious evaluation, seditious reasoning and logic, and evil, evil truth-telling.

The sweet taste of disillusionment (1)

Churla (936633) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312314)

Loving Wikipedia.. with all it's faults.. like the cute but quirky girl in high school you knew things were going to work out with once you got back from college.

Then getting back from college and finding out she's living in a trailer.. with a crack habit.. and her pimp...

Not that I would have had experience in that field... or anything...

And a good thing too (1)

suitepotato (863945) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312338)

'...and prevents the 'promotion of a dispirited or negative view of life'.

Everyone knows this is the job of the government.

Is this a coincidence? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15312342)

I did a search on "Intel" and got some Intel-info, written in Chinese.
I then did a search on "Falun Gong" - and then got "The page cannot be displayed" from my browser. I now can't get in again. Did they ban me for that? Well, I'm not crying :)

Re:Is this a coincidence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15312485)

I had exactly the same experience!

Ensucklopedia (2, Informative)

blindd0t (855876) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312361)

In an unrelated story, sales of the book, "Beavis and Butt-Head Ensucklopedia" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beavis_and_butthead# Books) have recently sky-rocketed.

Can I still be sad? (1)

TheOrangeMan (884380) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312362)

and prevents the 'promotion of a dispirited or negative view of life'

So, if I get fired from my job in China, can I get arrested for feeling blue?

Sample Baidupedia Entries (2, Funny)

i am kman (972584) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312370)

Sample Baidupedia Entries:

Freedom: A right or the power to engage in certain actions without control or interference as long as these actions do not undermine the authority of the state.

Democracy: Government of the people by wealthy people.

Communism: Government of the people by the people where the people collectively own all property and the state takes care of you so everyone is happy.

Capitalism: An economic system based on a free market, open competition, profit motive and private ownership of the means of production as supervised and governed by the state

How is this any different (2, Funny)

scenestar (828656) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312382)

than congressmen paying people to edit out "negative entries".

Oh wait, that's just free-market..

fag08z (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15312401)

there are alrea3y aware, *BSD

Didn't hackers solve this years ago? (3, Interesting)

bill_kress (99356) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312407)

Ch1na sux0rs. You can never fi1t3r me, i r 2 l337 4 u!

Side note: This brings up an interesting discussion a chineese friend and I had the other day.

There are some things in America that simply won't work in China. One, he claims, is all you can eat restaraunts. People will just move in until you kick them out. When they have a salad bar, people will build 3 foot high salads (Search for it on Flicker--it's a pretty amazing sight to behold).

This also came up when we were discussing selling a house. He was wondering why we clean the house when we leave. We don't have to clean the carpets or drapes, but you just do--often spending quite a bit of money that we don't have to.

Apparently there are many other examples, all coming down to, he claims and I paraphrase: Chineese people are much less likely to look out for the "Common Good" unless forced to by law.

With this concept in mind, I kind of wonder if open source concepts (including the contents of the wikipedia) will work in China, or will it all be like our whitehouse/wallmart where everyone is only adding entries when it helps themselves personally.

ps: I wouldn't even consider that this might be a racial issue, it's obviously cultural (if it existis at all--if not please correct me!)

no music (1)

lovebyte (81275) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312411)

...and prevents the 'promotion of a dispirited or negative view of life'.
Well that excludes about all the music from the late 70's (Punk) to the current popular rubbish. And also most of the last 100 years of Blues and others.

Sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15312422)


Entries to the encyclopaedia must first pass a filtering system before being added to the site. Baidupedia bars users from including any 'malicious evaluation of the current national system', any 'attack on government institutions', and prevents the 'promotion of a dispirited or negative view of life'.

Looks like Slashdot to me.

censorship (1)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312441)

can't really work on all political forms of protest. What dissidents need to do is not criticise the government but make articles in which the government is not mentioned but people would be invited (without express mentioning) to associate this situation with that which they currently live in. Nazi propaganda did this and was very effective in doing so - they made films which people could easily see one thing and associate it with another (the one which comes to mind is one of a young boy committed to a cause who dies to try and preserve that cause). Maybe chineese internet needs more stories and posts about people who are different but sucessful

All that energy... (1)

M0b1u5 (569472) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312453)

Imagine if all the energy required to maintain all the censorship in China was directed towards productive goals. Economically, I think the USA wouldn't stand a chance against China. Pray it doesn't happen any time soon.

Cultural bias and other stuff (4, Insightful)

Winlin (42941) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312514)

I notice that articles about China seem to bring a certain number of posts about how we in the west shouldn't be arrogant and assume, that just because we value freedom of speech and such rights, the chinese people want the same freedoms. And of course there ARE cultural differences between East and West. But I also have to wonder...if the chinese people are so content with the pace of change in society, then why does the government need all those citizen censors, and great firewalls, and controlled wikis? It would seem that there would be no need for such stringent methods of control when the people don't want western ideas.

oh well... (2, Funny)

Lazy Jones (8403) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312528)

at least they don't keep their government employees busy with rewriting Wikipedia entries about politicians, so they might actually get some real work done instead.

Good testing ground (1)

Bluephonic (682158) | more than 8 years ago | (#15312540)

Whether or not the self-censorship is good for chinese people, this project will be good for wikipedia: it'll provide a testing ground for several proposals that have been floating around on wikipedia for awhile. For example, Wikipedia's entry on Baidupedia [wikipedia.org] says it'll have "historical versions" -- otherwise known, 6 months ago, as stable versions [wikipedia.org] , something that wikipedia should really implement (but hasn't yet -- lots of inertia).

That said, the site isn't exactly a wikipedia clone: the fact that content must be vetted by admins before being shown on the site means that it will be an entirely different animal: all the social processes that make wikipedia work as it does will be completely different (just as wikipedia is completely different from Everything2, though if you heard both described they'd sound quite similar to each other).

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