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How the Chinese Wikipedia Differs from the English

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the truth-with-edits dept.

Censorship 193

bulled writes "News.com is running a story on differences found in Wikipedia's Chinese site content, as compared to content on the same subjects from the English site. The article goes into a discussion about how the 'sanitized' information is so prevalent in Chinese education that it is seen as the 'truth'." From the article: "[Some] say the object should be to spread reliable information as widely as possible, and that, in any case, self-censorship is pointless because the government still frequently blocks access to Wikipedia for most Chinese Internet users. 'There is a lot of confusion about whether they should obey the neutral point of view or offer some compromises to the government,' said Isaac Mao, a well-known Chinese blogger and user of the encyclopedia. 'To the local Wikipedians, the first objective is to make it well known among Chinese, to get people to understand the principles of Wikipedia step by step, and not to get the thing blocked by the government.'"

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Also of note... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17076418)

It's in Chinese rather than English.

Re:Also of note... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17076784)

Thanks, man: thought I was looking at some dodgy Perl there.

Re:Also of note... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17077138)

Fucking python programmer

Re:Also of note... (0)

identity0 (77976) | more than 6 years ago | (#17077254)

For those that don't know, Chinese is written in a script that resembles 1337 5p34k, but is actually legible.

Re:Also of note... (0)

Isotopian (942850) | more than 6 years ago | (#17078430)

I disagree. I can understand 1337. Not so for Chinese. At least not without my Google Translator!

Another difference... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17078204)

Here we can openly discuss and criticize censorship of whatever kind.
In China, you apparently can't do that without getting into trouble.

Re:Also of note... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17078468)

but the real difference is ************censored************** $^#W*~qdf NO CARRIER

How it differs (0, Troll)

sporkme (983186) | more than 6 years ago | (#17076424)

How does the Chinese Wikipedia differ from the English? Easy! One is in Chinese and the other is in English.

TFA:
Another person replied angrily: "If you want to release your emotions, use a bulletin board. Wikipedia is not your toilet."
Slashdot, perhaps?

While I appreciate the anecdotal insight, all I really needed to know is that we are talking about information exchange media under an oppressive government. Again, TFA:
Asked to explain what this meant, Zhang said, "Anyone who is Chinese knows."
How could there possibly be any free exchange, ever, in a culture where censorship in the media is a fact of life, just like fluoride in the water. It just IS --no matter how many "parallel" projects there are. This makes me sick.

Re:How it differs (0, Offtopic)

Hubristically Yours (1028294) | more than 6 years ago | (#17076794)

How could there possibly be any free exchange, ever, in a culture where censorship in the media is a fact of life, just like fluoride in the water. It just IS --no matter how many "parallel" projects there are. This makes me sick.

While I am sickened as well, I live in America and don't believe that we have any business criticizing "oppressive governments" for the suppression of information until I can feel comfortable browsing to any website on the internet containing political ideas without worrying about a free all-expenses paid trip to beautiful Guantanamo Bay.

Look, I'm no conspiracy theorist or libertarian nut, and I realize that browsing the news at aljazeera.com probably isn't Gitmo material. But, does anyone here have trouble believing the government might be using some kind of monitoring not unlike bayesian spam filtering, where simply sharing similar browsing patterns to known terrorists (or known residents of Gitmo) lands you on the watch list?

And before you say, "Fine, they might watch you, but if you have nothing to hide there's nothing to worry about," I have to vehemently disagree. All the government needs to have UAVs dropping Hellfires on you like shit from a Chicago pigeon is some kind of connection to "terrorism." Drive a limo for Bin Laden? Have a phone call with someone who was roommate with Al Zawahiri? Go to a mosque that "gave money to terrorism?" Live next to a mosque that "gave money to terrorism?" Happen to be in the same room as a terrorist when the UAV is flying by? Hope you like the smell of RDX.

Before we get on the high horse here... (1, Interesting)

megaditto (982598) | more than 6 years ago | (#17076846)

How many paedophilic images do you find on the English Wikipedia?
How many homosexual rape HOWTO entrees are there? Just how detailed are the Wikipedia's meth cooking/ricin making manuals?
When was the last time our Govt declassified a blueprint for a nuclear warhead?
A detailed travel schedule and the layout of alarm circuits in dubbyas house perhaps? No?

What, those are all illegal in US, you say?
Well, in China, all politically subversive public speech is illegal.

We all have our reasons for outlawing certain things. Are China's laws just? Who knows...

Re:Before we get on the high horse here... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17076962)

>How many paedophilic images do you find on the English Wikipedia?
Quite a few by some peoples' definitions, actually.

>How many homosexual rape HOWTO entrees are there?
Probably not many... why, would you consider such an article encyclopedic in nature?

>Just how detailed are the Wikipedia's meth cooking/ricin making manuals?
Probably not very, but then Wikipedia also doesn't have "detailed" manuals for making concrete either.

>When was the last time our Govt declassified a blueprint for a nuclear warhead?
This has nothing to do with Wikipedia

>A detailed travel schedule and the layout of alarm circuits in dubbyas house perhaps? No?
Well, aside from the fact that Wikipedia doesn't have ACCESS to this information (which means you can't blame them for not having it posted), it wouldn't be encyclopedic in nature.

>What, those are all illegal in US, you say?
Irrelevant, as I've shown, there are very good reasons that those things are/aren't in Wikipedia (and not all of those things are illegal).

Wikipedia is not Everything2. It is an encyclopedia, and it does not encompass ALL HUMAN KNOWLEDGE OF ANY LEVEL OF DETAIL ON EVERY SUBJECT, but attempts to be a compendium of encyclopedic information. Your ire is misdirected. The English Wikipedia is not hostage to government censorship, and it is nowhere NEAR as censored as the Chinese Wikipedia. The "censoring" that does take place is primarily of a community-standards nature, and even that is pretty loose.

Re:Before we get on the high horse here... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17077014)

In my school a student was visited by Secret Service for her art project: a painting of Clinon in a traditional indian female dress (a bathrobie thingie, hairdress, forhead dot, bracelets, the whole deal).

Well, apparently some twat thought the red dot looked like a laser sight, and dropped a dime on her. Imagine what they'd do today.

Re:Before we get on the high horse here... (2, Interesting)

megaditto (982598) | more than 6 years ago | (#17077086)

but then Wikipedia also doesn't have "detailed" manuals for making concrete either.
what, you mean nothing like this? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portland_cement#Produ ction [wikipedia.org]

Irrelevant, as I've shown, there are very good reasons that those things are/aren't in Wikipedia (and not all of those things are illegal).
I am sure some Good Chinese is reciting Good reasons why the Tank Square isn't in the Chinese wiki.

The point being, certain things are not acceptable to certain communities (legal, moral, other reasons). But just because Texas tolerates beasteality but does not tolerate dildo use by consenting married couples does not make you and me a better/worse person.

Re:How it differs (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17076858)

How could there possibly be any free exchange, ever, in a culture where censorship in the media is a fact of life, just like fluoride in the water. It just IS --no matter how many "parallel" projects there are. This makes me sick.

As their economy there is improving it's getting harder and harder to censor. Because of a shortage of workers, companies over there are having to offer better and better benefits to attract workers. It takes a massive workforce to supply the rich with everything they want. Keep thinking the myth with zero some game economics that the Chinese people are doomed to remain broke and backwards. The Chinese people are no longer starving like they were in the sixties, go for a visit there sometime .. even out to the rural areas. More and more chinese are able to afford and are buying cars and other things that improve their quality of life. China is the fastest growing market for cars, the rate of their median income growth is so huge that the government is being accused of actually understating the growth rate to keep their yuan undervalued and other things.

As for a "culture of censorship" ...As a poster below me pointed out .. to some extent we have censorship here too (not as bad as China's though) .. spend some time on digg or slashdot. Any post that expresses a strong viewpoint is censored down. I am not just talking about "first posts" or flagrant GNAA stuff. I am talking about "extremist" political viewpoints.

You can only censor people for so long. After a while the government officials themselves will see no point in censorship and decide to spend money on other crap projects. China is slowly opening up, they used to prevent people from leaving China .. now look at the number of Chinese students in the US. They also used to prevent people from visiting there. Now it's pretty easy to go to China.

Re:How it differs (3, Insightful)

mathfeel (937008) | more than 6 years ago | (#17078444)

First of all, contributions to many of not-so-controversial entries (and that's usually the majorities of entries anyway) are often written or being written by translation. See for example, this entry for Perturbation Theory [wikipedia.org] . So The differences between the two wikipedia are often small for most of my search/contribution need (I study physics and mathematics, and often contributes to both of these subjects in English and Chinese).

Of course, there are also controversial topics such as Mao, representative government, and democracy. I tend to think that wikipedia (WP) is at its best at those issue precisely because of ability for each sides to edit the article because at the end of the day, it demands compromise from all side in order for a particular edit to stay. WP is at its worst with respect to obscure topics that nobody check and few people are knowledgable enough in a particular narrow direction to check. Then again, if you believe everything with a single source, be it WP or any other encyclopedia, you are not doing serious research anyway.

Finally. Is it really that shocking that different culture/political upbringing can reach a different conclusion on a topic? Grew up in China, I have heard both praising and condemnation of the ruling party (in private of course) as well as Western government/culture. Capitalism is perceived no more an foreign evil in China now a day than communism a savior of the nation. Educated class in China (consider how many were illiterate before the communist took over) has a much more critical eye for the government than many in the West give credit for.

And this is unusual how? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17076482)

The EPA has been busy killing off ALL of their libraries. Amazingly, they have been disposing of all of the information that was on paper rather than save it for later scanning (and the argument of saving money is too much as they sold off 80K worth of furniture for $383).

GWB has NASA stopping scientists from talking about their research.

GWB put a stop on Sibel Edmunds from speaking (and even had a 60 minute episode about her classified).

We have our fair share of issues.

Re:And this is unusual how? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17076692)

We have our issues with our government. What this article is talking about is issues of censorship in culture. This is something with which the West doesn't have a problem. We have problems about our governments censoring us, but we don't generally censor ourselves. In my opinion this is because the Chinese culture tends to value group cohesion more than individuality. The opposite is true for the West.

Re:And this is unusual how? (1)

Frozen Void (831218) | more than 6 years ago | (#17077426)

same story was months ago on /. and the replies were reassuring that all information will be available through digital libraries.

ItsGeorgeWBushsFault (1)

countvlad (666933) | more than 6 years ago | (#17078098)

This GWB-related article is a stub. You can help Slashdot by modding it.

The EPA has been busy killing off ALL of their libraries. Amazingly, they have been disposing of all of the information that was on paper rather than save it for later scanning (and the argument of saving money is too much as they sold off 80K worth of furniture for $383).[Citation Needed]

GWB has NASA stopping scientists from talking about their research.[Citation Needed]

GWB put a stop on Sibel Edmunds from speaking (and even had a 60 minute episode about her classified).[Citation Needed]

We have our fair share of issues.[Citation Needed]

hmm (2, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | more than 6 years ago | (#17076504)

News.com is running a story on differences found in Wikipedia's Chinese site content, as compared to content on the same subjects from the English site.

An easy example: On the english site, we can learn that the population of elephants has tripled in the last six months. On the chinese site, we can learn that the population of elephants has tripled in the last 12 solar terms.

Entry for USA (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17076520)

Translation from Chinese

The USA, a decadent, capitalistic society, that enslaves its people through corporations, and calls itself a Republic, is in North America, between Canada and Mexico. Their Government is run by decadent wealthy politicians who use their political power for more gain. Unlike your illustrious leaders here in China, they do not care about their constituants.

It is recomended that all Chinese citizens ignore these people for they have been corrupted by their capitalist owners. And also beware, they will tell you lies about working in sweatshops! They are lies told by their proletariat in order to keep their position in their society and to convince their workers that they are paid the best in the World. Ignore them! You are paid best in the World!!

Beware of the Americans!!! They are liars!

How the Chinese System of Government is the best in the World - elected by you, the people of China:

All of the memebers of Government are freely elected by the people of China. Being a Democracy of the highest order, China.....

Re:Entry for USA (5, Informative)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#17076648)

They are lies told by their proletariat in order to keep their position in their society and to convince their workers that they are paid the best in the World.

Marxism hasn't been the publicly asserted guiding philosophy for China since Tiananmen. The rhetoric of Mao Zedong is almost totally forgotten among the younger generations. See Meisner's Mao's China and After [amazon.com] (Free Press, 3rd ed. 1999) for the rather dramatic shift in perspective from the 1980s. Now it's just generic authoritarianism and a good dose of Han nationalism. Get with the times.

Entry for China (was: Entry for USA) (1)

Lead Butthead (321013) | more than 6 years ago | (#17076844)

"If there is a buck to be made, do it. Screw everyone else. Screw the planet."

Re:Entry for USA (4, Funny)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 6 years ago | (#17077158)

>The USA, a decadent, capitalistic society, that enslaves
>its people through corporations, and calls itself a
>Republic, is in North America, between Canada and Mexico.
>Their Government is run by decadent wealthy politicians who
>use their political power for more gain. Unlike your
>illustrious leaders here in China, they do not care about
>their constituants.

    Hey, wait a minute, that's not a Chinese Wikipedia entry - it's every third post on Slashdot!

        Brett

Re:Entry for USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17077582)

They are lies told by their proletariat in order to keep their position in their society

Um, the proletariat *are* the workers. Perhaps you are thinking of the Bourgeoisie, or the Nomenklatura elite. Oops, scratch that last one.

Re:Entry for USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17078044)

How the Chinese System of Government is the best in the World - elected by you, the people of China: All of the memebers of Government are freely elected by the people of China. Being a Democracy of the highest order, China.....
China is probably the most equal country in the world. I mean, it's hard for anybody to have special privileges when everyone is treated like dirt.

This post... (1)

Darundal (891860) | more than 6 years ago | (#17076536)

...has been edited to comply with Slashdot's policy of not "judging the existing national system with malice."

We have our own socially effected censorship (5, Interesting)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 6 years ago | (#17076550)

"To publicly suggest that Taiwanese have any historical basis for asserting their independence from China would be a career-ending offense for anyone in academia or in the news media."

A career-ending offense exicts in this country too, but just on different subjects. Try publicly saying that whites are smarter than blacks, or that teenage girls should have have hands-on sex ed in junior high, or that ice floes are a good way of relieving the social security crunch, and see what happens to your career. ( The previous three ideas or - similar forms of them - have been considered obvious truisms in other places and times. I'm not expressing these opinions myself, just mentioning them as examples )

Try putting any of these on english Wikipedia, and see how long they last.

Re:We have our own socially effected censorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17076606)

Exict? It's Chinese for "fuck you, nigger", isn't it?

You want to know something funny? (1)

alfs boner (963844) | more than 6 years ago | (#17076622)

You payed for a slashdot subscription. And I'm going to raise my karma by reposting your highly rated comments in other discussions :)

Re:We have our own socially effected censorship (0)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#17076650)

"...or that ice floes are a good way of relieving the social security crunch,..."

there is no 'Social Security Crunch' it is a lie spread by republicans since the creation of social security.

Just so you know, the baby boomers will never be the largest demographic. In fact the largest portion of the population they will have is 21%.

Re:We have our own socially effected censorship (1)

rm999 (775449) | more than 6 years ago | (#17076766)

"Try publicly saying that whites are smarter than blacks, or that teenage girls should have have hands-on sex ed in junior high, or that ice floes are a good way of relieving the social security crunch, and see what happens to your career."

Those are not obvious truisms, they are subjective opinions. Those do not belong on wikipedia, and would rightfully be removed.

On the other hand, I am guessing if you went to articles about race, sexual education, or social security, you could find discussion on those viewpoints in the article. If not, you would be able to add them and probably not have them removed.

Re:We have our own socially effected censorship (2, Insightful)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 6 years ago | (#17076900)

"Those are not obvious truisms, they are subjective opinions.

That was exactly my point. They are mere opinions TO YOU, in this culture and age. They were obvious truths to people in other cultures at other times.

Re:We have our own socially effected censorship (1)

Xenographic (557057) | more than 6 years ago | (#17078026)

No, those were opinion then and they're opinion now.

That said, I'm sure we've got a few "truisms" today that are little more than ill-founded supposition.

Re:We have our own socially effected censorship (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 6 years ago | (#17078030)

A modern day example from the US would be "the government has a right to execute it's citezens".

Re:We have our own socially effected censorship (3, Interesting)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 6 years ago | (#17076920)

or that teenage girls should have have hands-on sex ed in junior high

Well, the question is, hands-on whom? ;)

Re:We have our own socially effected censorship (4, Insightful)

troll -1 (956834) | more than 6 years ago | (#17077230)

Try publicly saying that whites are smarter than blacks, or that teenage girls should have have hands-on sex ed in junior high, or that ice floes are a good way of relieving the social security crunch, and see what happens to your career.

I see the point but those are really not good comparisons. An academic in the US could say Mexicans in California have a historical basis for asserting independence from the US and not really much would happen. Take Noam Chomsky, an MIT prof who says if the Nuremberg standards were applied, every US president would have been hanged. Didn't affect his career at all. And even if it did, the government in the US has no standing in dictating what academics say. That's the difference between the US and China and that's the point I think that's being made.

Re:We have our own socially effected censorship (4, Interesting)

dasunt (249686) | more than 6 years ago | (#17078066)

A career-ending offense exicts in this country too, but just on different subjects. Try publicly saying that whites are smarter than blacks, or that teenage girls should have have hands-on sex ed in junior high, or that ice floes are a good way of relieving the social security crunch, and see what happens to your career. ( The previous three ideas or - similar forms of them - have been considered obvious truisms in other places and times. I'm not expressing these opinions myself, just mentioning them as examples )

Try putting any of these on english Wikipedia, and see how long they last.

The wiki article on "Race and Intelligence" has, at the top of an article, a graph of IQs of different races. Whites, on average, are shown as scoring higher than blacks.

The article discusses the amount (if any) of difference in the average intelligence of the different races and possible reasons why there would be a difference.

Re:We have our own socially effected censorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17078180)

Scoring well on an IQ test does not necessarily mean higher intelligence; it could just easily result from some bias inherent in the test itself.

Re:We have our own socially effected censorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17078258)

Or niggers could really be dumber than everyone else like most of the world thinks when they arn't speaking in public to strangers that will judge them for it.

captcha: compromise

How Is This Related to the US Government??!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17076552)

According to the Slashdot FAQ, the politics section was for news related to US government politics. This story involves only the Chinese government.

This doesn't belong in politics.

Re:How Is This Related to the US Government??!! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17077528)

Before the 2004 US elections there was no politics section. Quote The FAQ:
Politics
This section is for news relevant to United States government politics. It was created primarily to cover the 2004 US Presidential Election, but today exists for occasional stories that fit the bill.

Hah. You think you are better? (5, Insightful)

oGMo (379) | more than 6 years ago | (#17076580)

The article goes into a discussion about how the 'sanitized' information is so prevalent in Chinese education that it is seen as the 'truth'.

HAH! I love all the discussion about Chinese censorship. The argument is that we are free, and see things objectively---but that is not true. We are merely free to choose the censorship we prefer.

I do not mean that we don't have access to "uncensored" information. Nor do I mean that it is forced upon us by anyone. I mean that we prefer censorship; we prefer to see things through filters that support what we want to believe. If you do not think this, just spend a week on Digg, or other "self-policing" sites. People do not want objectivity, they want the prominence of their own subjectivity.

The Chinese government merely provides this as a government service, so the widest possible audience is sated. It's not worse. It's not even different. Consider first whether people are really, truly unhappy.

(Note, I don't actually believe we should have government-sponsored censorship. There is some hyperbole here by design. But really, this is not as far from reality as you may think.)

people prefer placid lies to ugly truths (3, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#17076686)

this is true of everyone who has ever lived. including you. including me. it's simple human nature

however, this self-censorship, whether by individuals or cliques, is a different subject matter than censorship by a government entity. one is organic, from below, for the purposes of protecting the ego. the other is artificial, from above, for the purposes of maintaining power

Re:people prefer placid lies to ugly truths (4, Insightful)

oGMo (379) | more than 6 years ago | (#17078290)

this is true of everyone who has ever lived. including you. including me. it's simple human nature

This is, in fact, my first point.

however, this self-censorship, whether by individuals or cliques, is a different subject matter than censorship by a government entity.

This comes back to our own self-censorship (and, really, our own cultural/governmental censorship). We see through the "authoritarian censorship is bad" filter, which ironically comes from an authority itself.

My second point is simply that neither one is better. They are both censorship. To criticize for one and accept the other is hypocritical.

2+2 does not equal 5, even for very high values of 2 and very low values of 5.

Re:Hah. You think you are better? (2, Interesting)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | more than 6 years ago | (#17076810)

Dude, which country would you choose to live in?

Country #1 where people have free access to information and some choose to self censor that access?

Country #2 where the government censors information and unapproved distribution of censored information is a crime?

Re:Hah. You think you are better? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17076930)

Country #2 where the government censors information and unapproved distribution of censored information is a crime?

Country #3, which is like Country #2, but the punishment of unapproved distribution is dressed up as "copyright infringement" of someone's "valoooable innellecdual properteeeee"?

Country #1 sure isn't the USA or Europe right now!

Re:Hah. You think you are better? (1)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | more than 6 years ago | (#17077006)

Nice attempt at changing the subject. Please answer #1 or #2. Be an adult. Do it straight up and unambiguous and then I'll switch topics with you and address intellectual property.

Re:Hah. You think you are better? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17077018)

False dichotomy. You be an adult, you probable-teenaged twat, and stop pushing your agenda.

Re:Hah. You think you are better? (1)

oGMo (379) | more than 6 years ago | (#17077484)

Please choose:

  • #1: You stopped beating your wife
  • #2: You are still beating your wife

Be an adult and don't change the subject, please answer #1 or #2.

Re:Hah. You think you are better? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17077062)

If you do not think this, just spend a week on Digg, or other "self-policing" sites. People do not want objectivity, they want the prominence of their own subjectivity.

Shit, spend a day on Slashdot and it's the same...

Re:Hah. You think you are better? (1)

crossconnects (140996) | more than 6 years ago | (#17077094)

This is one of the most insightful posts I have ever seen on slashdot, or anywhere else. I have noticed the same phenomenon for several years.

It is also rather well written, unlike if I tried to write it.

kudos

Re:Hah. You think you are better? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17077730)

That's exactly right. Chinese people, in particular, are willing to overlook facts in order to prove their points. Just read anything about on the internet about the Nanjing Massacre if you want proof.

Simple (4, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#17076582)

After reasding it, your hungry for more information an hour later...

I wonder what it feels like to be suckered (0, Troll)

troicstar (1029086) | more than 6 years ago | (#17076630)

down to ones cultural core by falsehoods, thats gotta hurt. Not that its going to happen quickly, they are only just getting the hang of parody over there. Damn thats like 100's of years old here.

Re:I wonder what it feels like to be suckered (1)

Umbral Blot (737704) | more than 6 years ago | (#17076754)

Yes, in america he majority of people are never mislead by falsehoods. Consider for example the Iraq war. It is definitely not the case that the majority of people were mislead into supporting the war by purposefully misleading information about Saddam's WMDs and ties to terrorists. Something like that could never happen here. Was that not down to your cultural core enough? How about the american dream and social mobility?

Re:I wonder what it feels like to be suckered (3, Insightful)

dircha (893383) | more than 6 years ago | (#17077410)

Get over your self loathing.

Yes the U.S. has plenty of corrupt leaders. Yes the U.S. has plenty of lazy and apathetic people who do not think for themselves.

BUT:

We found out that we were lied to.

We have people on national television and in national publications expousing as matter of fact that we were and are being lied to and misled.

It is commonly reported public knowledge that more citizens disapprove of the current regime than approve of it.

The competence of the administration is openly ridiculed in national broadcasts and publications.

WE VOTED OUT THE PARTY IN POWER. I hope you appreciate how important this. In some countries past and present this is the thing of revolutionary dreams.

Why do I care that people appreciate how good they have things here? Not because I want them to be nationalists or even to be proud of what we do have. But rather because if people do not see the great freedom and opportunity they have, they may fail to take hold of it and use it to better themselves and our society as they can and should.

You do not think we are in a position to criticize suppression of freedom in other countries? You aren't if you can't see past your own problems. You aren't if you are more concerned about your own national pride than you are about freedom at home and around the world. Start standing up for your fellow human beings, and stop limiting yourself by your national pride or shame. I don't know about you, but my nationality is human being.

Re:I wonder what it feels like to be suckered (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17077916)

Found out we were lied to? We knew that we were being lied to from Day One of the build-up to the Iraq War! Most people just wanted a war because they thought it would be fun.

it's in chinese? (2, Funny)

foobat (954034) | more than 6 years ago | (#17076670)

oh ho ho ho, sometimes I make myself laugh.....

Re:it's in chinese? (-1, Offtopic)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 6 years ago | (#17077636)

oh ho ho ho, sometimes I make myself BUST OUT MY -1 REDUNDANT STAMP.

... If I had any I would. >:(

Most Chinese wikipedia users are not from mainland (3, Insightful)

Ryu2 (89645) | more than 6 years ago | (#17076720)

They are from Taiwan or Hong Kong, where education is fairly liberal and there is very little censorship compared with the Mainland.

Note, most of the articles on Chinese Wikipedia are in traditional Chinese script (used in those places) as opposed to simplified, used on the mainland.

Re:Most Chinese wikipedia users are not from mainl (3, Informative)

D H NG (779318) | more than 6 years ago | (#17077084)

The Chinese Wikipedia has options to switch between traditional and simplified version of the article, done automatically. ~~~~

Re:Most Chinese wikipedia users are not from mainl (1)

redphi (1034564) | more than 6 years ago | (#17077194)

what's with this mainland bull, taiwan has never belonged to china, that's like Saying Japan is mainland for china and korea, they were the ones afterall who screwed everyone over (comfort woman)or enslaved them, taiwan is the only country that came off"lightly" from their years of rule, something else that is also very irritating is translations on hollywood movies, and how their names get changed into chinese, with results that have nothing to do with the former name or words in the movie, total bull and sheep *

Re:Most Chinese wikipedia users are not from mainl (1)

mathfeel (937008) | more than 6 years ago | (#17078242)

After reading your comment, I have decided to do a little survey. Entries for (Mao), (CMP) [wikipedia.org] are in simplified script. While other entries are in traditional. I read both and generally don't prefer one over the other. Today's opening page has links to entries written in both scripts. While I agree that most user are probably from non-censored TW and HK, there are still fair amount of simplified script articles. BTW, Singapore uses simplified Chinese as well.

It's a choice (2, Insightful)

Salvance (1014001) | more than 6 years ago | (#17076722)

With China, it's a choice ... allow access to more data in a filtered/censored medium, or block access altogether. Since censoring typically deals with deleting data, and not actually changing it, I'd rather see the Chinese use a watered down version of Wikipedia than not have access at all. I fully expect that increased knowledge and affluence amongst the Chinese people will eventually drive the Communists from power.

Also, China can't block/censor everything without ruining their prospects to shift away from a manufacturing-based economy ... so it's just a matter of time.

Trying to appease the censors is pointless. (0, Troll)

JoshJ (1009085) | more than 6 years ago | (#17076728)

The best thing to do is open the floodgates of truth, let the government block it, and fight your way around the blocks. Don't give in to those who would take freedom away- ever.

has a point (1)

Joseph_Daniel_Zukige (807773) | more than 6 years ago | (#17076916)

while those with less to lose fight at the front, let those with more to lose fight with finesse. Don't brow-beat your allies.

It takes both fighting from the outside and from the inside. Fighting from the inside has different rules, requires somewhat of a concilliatory approach, involves understanding things from a different point of view, provides different opportunities for corruption.

(And, yes, fighting from the outside does have its own opportunities for corruption.)

understand the principles of Wikipedia (1)

rHBa (976986) | more than 6 years ago | (#17076752)

To the local Wikipedians, the first objective is to make it well known among Chinese, to get people to understand the principles of Wikipedia step by step

I don't think the average (western) user of wikipedia understands "the principles of Wikipedia"

Re:understand the principles of Wikipedia (1)

JoshJ (1009085) | more than 6 years ago | (#17076824)

That could be said of ANYTHING. The average Wikipedian? The average Firefox user? The average Wal-Mart shopper? The average Christian? None of them understand the principles of what they're doing.

It's not just confined to zn.wikipedia.org. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17076878)

The article goes into a discussion about how the 'sanitized' information is so prevalent in Chinese education that it is seen as the 'truth'."


They even sometimes "correct" the English Wikipedia to reflect that "truth."

They shouldn't give in (3, Insightful)

NewsWatcher (450241) | more than 6 years ago | (#17076880)

I want to echo the comments of those who say that to have a watered-down version just so people can have access to something is ridiculous. It is an admission of defeat. It is an acknowledgement that the censors have been able to defeat not just their own people learning things, but others as well.

The way to defeat state censorship of this kind I think involves getting as much information as possible out there. If they want to ban access to it, let them. Web-savvy Chinese will find a way to get to it. The word will spread. The truth is more persistent and resilient than cockroaches. Once it gets out it is difficult to stop.

I sure would hate to think the Tiananmen Square Massacre, or "June 4th Incident" as it is known in China, will go down in history with a Chinese-govt spin on it.

Already the English version of wikipedia calls it the Tiananmen Square Protests of 1989 [wikipedia.org] . I wonder what they call it on the Chinese version? Tianenmen Square - nothing happened, don't ask perhaps?

Re:They shouldn't give in (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17077042)

I want to echo the comments of those who say that to have a watered-down version just so people can have access to something is ridiculous.


Better to start slowly and end well -- Confucius. Do I need to go on (and on, and on, and on, like Slashdot)? Give it a rest will you.

Re:They shouldn't give in (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17078354)

Starting slowly just helps reinforce the current misinformation and ends nowhere, they'll just ban it if it gets out of hand and all it would have done is damage. Only way it will end well is if the Chinese goverment continues introducing slow reforms, in other words wikipedia will just be their tool and worthless in any context outside that.
All hail the chinese government, eh?

Re:They shouldn't give in (4, Interesting)

euniana (878775) | more than 6 years ago | (#17077166)

As of the time of this post, the opening paragraph of the Chinese version reads something like this:

"June 4th Incident", also called "'89 Minyun" [short for Democratic Movement], , "'89 Xueyun" [short for Students' Movement], "June 4th Massacre", "June 4th Wave", "'89 Democratic Movement", "'89 Students' Movement", "Tiananmen Massacre", "Tiananmen Incident", etc, officially called "The Disturbance", "Counter-revolutionary riot", and in recent years "the Political Turmoil between Spring and Summer of 1989" by the PRC government, hereafter abbreviated to "64" [June 4th].

Same Problems Here (1, Informative)

Slipgrid (938571) | more than 6 years ago | (#17076964)

Sigh, our wiki has the same [wikipedia.org] problems [wikipedia.org] .

the first thing i noticed was (0, Redundant)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | more than 6 years ago | (#17077026)

is that i don't know how to read chinese

This discredits wikipedia (1, Troll)

gnu-sucks (561404) | more than 6 years ago | (#17077060)

To host content that in any way differs from the truth discredits wikipedia.

If the Chinese people want a wikipedia that won't get banned, they should make their own. It's a shame to see the wikipedia name get so discredited.

No information is better than false information.

Re:This discredits wikipedia (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#17077994)

Why should Wikipedia be any different than profiteers and collaborators like Google, Microsoft and Yahoo? They're just following the trend of sucking at the teat of cowardly governments so frightened of their populaces that they'll resort to this level of craven behavior. Perhaps someday a free China will put the lot on trial.

Re:This discredits wikipedia (1)

gnu-sucks (561404) | more than 6 years ago | (#17078462)

Why should Wikipedia be any different than profiteers and collaborators like Google, Microsoft and Yahoo?

The only reason I can think of is that wikipedia is a wiki, and the end decision will be made by community discussion.

I agree with your post though, it is definitely an act of 'sucking up', and hopefully those companies that do so will regret their actions some day.

How is Chinese Wikipedia different? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17077066)

Its written in Chinese.

Sarcasm beats censorship (4, Funny)

Micklewhite (1031232) | more than 6 years ago | (#17077160)

What we need is some kind of text based indicator that shows somebody's being sarcastic. That'd ruin China's attempts at any sort of censorship. Say there's an article about China's wonderful human rights record. There could be a little ;-) at the end of it so when you get to the end you go 'Ohhh! They were being sarcastic. Bloody Chinese government and their clearly horrible human rights record, I'm changing my vote!'

Beating China's oppressive regime is pretty easy when you think about it ;-)

What the Chinese government should do (1)

D H NG (779318) | more than 6 years ago | (#17077170)

If the Chinese government wants its view to be represented, it should allow free access to Wikipedia from within China itself. That way, its people will do the censorship for it. Consider the case with the Vietnamese Wikipedia, which I'm currently a bureaucrat. At the beginning, its only participants are outside of Vietnam [opennet.net] itself, and users from Vietnam [bbc.co.uk] created a made-in-Vietnam version of the encyclopedia for fear of "counterrevolutionary ideas". After featured in several articles in high-profile publications [tuoitre.com.vn] in Vietnam and even recommended by the government-funded encyclopedia [bachkhoatoanthu.gov.vn] , the encyclopedia saw a surge in registration and a noticable skewing of view. Now I'm even being accused by my family of being used by the government to spread their propaganda.

China block English Wikipedia (1)

tickle (1033964) | more than 6 years ago | (#17077192)

You won't be able to access the English Wikipedia site from China. This is disgraceful. I can't imagine any party or leadership would block information flow as the communist does. China is so corrupted that people in China would not know how to live if the country suddenly becomes a country of freedom. So, don't be suprised by the difference. Guess what? If they don't differ, there won't exist Chinese Wikipedia either... Peking University [pku.edu.cn] , one of the best higher institutions, won't allow students to surf any websites not hosted within China unless specially authorized. Suprised?

Taboo, but the truth. (5, Insightful)

CherniyVolk (513591) | more than 6 years ago | (#17077228)


OK. I went to American schools. Growing up, I was, in so many ways, encouraged, forced or "educated" into think those Soviet bastards were communist scum bent on nuking the good'ol USA.

Cold War ends. I become seriously involved with a Russian model, her mother and father was given a free ride to the US on some kind of genius grant. Speaking to her father, everything Americans were taught about the Soviet Union was mirrored in Soviet schools about America. Down to the common bed-time anxiety of wondering if tonight you'll have to use your bomb-shelter (which lots of Soviets also had in fear of an American preemptive strike.) And so, while neither country ever really had that many nuclear weapons, what the corporations/state did have was massive public opinion inline for support to develop more and more on claims that "they" had ten or twenty more nuclear weapons. Arms race... come time to use the arms, we find we only have two and so do they. The irony of it all.

Point is, American education is no less bias/brainwashing/false/misleading than China's. This might be a big bite to chew for many of us, but it's true. Let's take for instance...

What do you know of World War II? It might come to a surprise to many of us... but unless you have to have a nurse help you defecate, odds are you don't know anymore than what was TOLD TO YOU. Faith of compliance, and from lack of critical, cold and cruel analysis presents no options for the guy next to you. Germans were the bad guys... do I know that for fact? No. I strongly assume so, because as far back as I remember, that's what I was told; and if I differ from public opinion, then I'll be an idiot.

The force of ignorance is so strong and compelling, that it's no wonder that those who veer successfully from the flow stand out so much and always have a aura about them that would permit one to predict they would "change the world". For the better, for the worst... depends on their opposing force and if they win or lose. If you win, patriot, revolutionary, resistance... all beautiful titles to hold to be sure. During your efforts, your a terrorist or criminal... if you lose, those titles stick. Doesn't matter your cause, doesn't matter your agenda. Powerful people, are just that, powerful and they aren't going to give up their crown, right or wrong, just because you're walking down the hall.

The English analysis points out where Chinese wikipedia is "wrong". It's points ONLY assume it's wrong, basing their assumptions on the fact their wording is not as harsh/critical/favorable to the way WE want China to look. Who is right? Americans? Chinese? Most logical tendancy I have... if I want a German opinion, I'll talk to a German. Why would America have any more accurate information on China than China itself? (But this is where people will try to claim they have controlled information sources... as if the information in America isn't equally controlled. At least Chinese leadership have the dignity to admit their concern for the information given to the public. Americans are left to realize that anything printed and sold in Barnes and Nobels is pre-approved and must conform the a social agenda and anything that won't will either be black-listed, banned or edited to hell and back by publish-house editors.) Any fool that thinks Fox News isn't controlled..... bottom line, China knows China better than America does. Don't kid yourself.

Re:Taboo, but the truth. (1)

JoshJ (1009085) | more than 6 years ago | (#17077324)

Sure, Fox News is controlled. The difference is, here (in US) at least you can make your own website. You can oppose the spoon-feeders. (at least until some massive corporation or corrupt president manages to take our freedoms away- then things get truly interesting.)

There, you cannot. Jail time, or worse, death, is promised.

Re:Taboo, but the truth. (3, Interesting)

klueless (695037) | more than 6 years ago | (#17077430)

Do US schools censor educational internet sources for a subject like WWII? Nope
Are students encouraged to become proficient in the use of primary sources? Yup

Just because a textbook might be censored (a better word for most of them would be "incomplete") doesn't mean you can discredit the entire educational system.

Re:Taboo, but the truth. (2, Insightful)

jedkwon (973410) | more than 6 years ago | (#17077626)

Okay I wrote like a 2 page essay criticizing your post, your logic, and the sexual proclivities of your mother, however, having calmed down a tad, I posted this instead: The difference is that here if I speak my mind, I may lose my job, assuming I did it at work, on a blog, with my name on it, which was critical of the current administration and the president's policies concerning national security, also my PageRank probably had to be high. In China I might get shot. For you Westside people it's the Compton difference that makes all the difference for us.

Re:Taboo, but the truth. (2, Insightful)

Jesus IS the Devil (317662) | more than 6 years ago | (#17078222)

Are you friggin out of your mind? There's a HUGE difference at play here, and you are benefitting from it right here on Slashdot every day.

Here we are allowed to disagree, be critical of, and demonstrate. In China you cannot say anything the government doesn't allow you to say, PERIOD.

Look at the masses of AMERICANS who hate Bush and Cheney. Americans openly criticise them, without any fear of being locked up or shot. You tell your Russian model girlfriend to go back to Russia and say something bad about Putin to see what happens to her and her family.

Go head, visit China and spit on Mao's picture and see what happens.

There's a HUGE difference between having the freedom to THINK FOR YOURSELF, as opposed to having your thinking done FOR you. Do you realize how corrupt China is, from the inside out? Why is this so? Because there is NO freedom of speech.

I've lived in China. Once you get to know the people, almost everyone is disallusioned and utterly disgusted with their government. They know of all the corrupt things that go on via the "guanxi" system. What can they do about it? Zilch, unless they wanna get shot or jailed.

THAT is the difference. In the free world (not just the U.S. btw), we are allowed to steer the path to our own destiny. In countries like China, you are nothing more than a peon, and the goverenment officials who hold all of the power get to do whatever they please and there's not a damn thing you can do about it.

Note, I love Chinese people. It's the corrupt government that I can't stand.

There is one HUGE difference..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17078368)

and that is, if someone decided they didn't like in the U.S., they could freely leave, to pretty much anywhere.

In the Soviet Union (and China) this was (is) EXTREMELY difficult, in fact all but impossible.

So the all the Soviet/Chinese apologists, the propaganda may be very similar between the U.S. and those countries, but there is a fundamental difference - people in the U.S. are free to choose, or leave - the others are not.

Tianamen (1, Interesting)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#17077304)

"And the sinister students jumped under the tank wheels in the hopes of jamming the wheels with their bodies and blood. They ruined the Great Machinery of Our Motherland and stained Our Great Floor Tiles with their dripping evil flesh. May the reverent ghosts of our ancesters be pissing on them now and forever in their afterlife."

China's gov't is 10x worse than the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17077502)

1984 in the flesh, for real. It's incredible just how much the Chinese gov't spies on its citizens, censors and hides. The US is pretty f'ked up right now, but China makes us look *great* by comparison. Trouble is, everyone is so geared up to make money in the Chinese economy, few want to rock the boat.

Re:China's gov't is 10x worse than the US (1)

computer_guy57 (998179) | more than 6 years ago | (#17077632)

I was just gonna say, anyone here read 1984? I'm sorry, I thought that book was fictional for some reason.

Is the English version any better? (3, Interesting)

LGagnon (762015) | more than 6 years ago | (#17077522)

Honestly, I've found articles in the English version that are no better. Just look at any article involving Ayn Rand. In those articles, Rand's followers make up the majority of editors, thus allowing them to get away with deleting any facts (even if they are cited) that they don't agree with. The articles about her are constantly censored simply because 1) Wikipedia is unequipped to deal with a biased mob attacking one or more articles, and 2) the sources that make Rand look bad are often deleted, thus making it look like the "truth" is that Rand has very few detractors.

In the Chinese Wikipedia, the government's bias censors the text; in the English Wikipedia, editorial mobs are glad to use their own bias to censor it.

Amen to this sentiment (3, Interesting)

Teancum (67324) | more than 6 years ago | (#17077852)

While wikipedia articles that have strong "popularity" (however you describe that term) are more likely to be balanced, there is a tendancy for particularly some of the more obscure articles to have a few strong defenders with a manifestly strong point of view and bias, where any changes to those articles moving away from that bias and point of view is met with out right hostility and anger, invoking every obscure rule of Wikipedia behavior to justify their words and discouraging any compromising edits. Often these "article tzars" have support of Wikipedia administrators and others in supposed position of authority.

That said, I have been successful in making some rather substantial changes in some articles explicitly by showing the paper tigers for which some of those POV biases can be seen. And given enough time and eyeballs, most of these problems do eventually get ironed out. But it takes time and much of what you see on Wikipedia is a work in progress.

In defense of the Chinese Wikipedia, they are a couple of years behind and a fair bit under-represented in comparison to the Chinese speaking population to what the English Wikipedia has going for it. That and "official actions" by the PRC that tends to discourage participation on Wikipedia. Those that do participate operate under a "Sword of Damocles [wikipedia.org] that could be lowered at any time by the PRC government. As I've pointed out myself on many occasions, it would be an incredibly inept Chinese government that would not know exactly who the major Wikipedia participants are, even those who don't necessarily live in China proper (like being a Chinese speaker in the USA, as an example). I'm talking the full names, addresses, and other identifying information about these people. The use of psuedonyms does not hide this information from the Chinese government.

There is justified concern in term of avoiding prison or even losing their life if they try to push too hard for the NPOV that the English Wikipedia enjoys. As for the U.S. government keeping track of its citizens, I'm sure that happens as well, but there would be a nearly instant and major outcry if there were such a similar crackdown within the USA. I'm sure the /. post about U.S. government censorship of Wikipedia alone would have thousands of replies in a matter of just an hour.

As an American studying in China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17077532)

I can say that there's a number of strong cultural pressures on (mainland) Chinese students to adhere to "correct" facts, even when they know privately that the government's official line is bunk. It's obvious when you speak to smart students outside of class- they're bright, incisive thinkers when it comes to apolitical issues. You can see them "switch off" when you begin to broach history, sociology or other touchy subjects.

The educational system, of course, teaches approved history. The extremely strong emphasis on fact and recitation over analysis gives good students an emotional attachment to the facts, regardless of their accuracy. If you want to get good grades (and there are urgent economic reasons to do so) you tow the line. Chinese culture also strongly emphasizes cooperation and obedience to authority inside school, work and the family. Rocking the boat doesn't feel right.

Aside from all this, there's a strong nationalistic feeling among many mainlanders. It's encouraged by the government, partly as a distraction from other issues, and partly because they want to keep China from going the way of the USSR. But it also springs from real patriotic feelings- the same force that keeps discussions of American imperialism in check. The remark in the article - "Wikipedia is not your toilet" seems to spring from just this strain of thinking.

Layer on top of all this a strong, meddlesome and dangerous censorship regime, and you've got a very big challenge.

my brother in China (3, Informative)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 6 years ago | (#17077550)

My brothre is in China, currently, and we've talked about this. Our concensus is that the Chinese Wikipedia censors pretty much anything pertaining to freedom, democracy, and the political history of the West - specifically, the US.

NPOV (1)

towsonu2003 (928663) | more than 6 years ago | (#17077644)

neutral point of view
there is no such thing as "neutral point of view". If you can see, what you see is your point of view. What you see will change according to who you are. The important thing is to balance different point of views in a single article.

Do I really have to be the first to say it? (1, Offtopic)

leereyno (32197) | more than 6 years ago | (#17078080)

After doing a cursory skimming of the posts in this thread so far I've discovered something amazing: no one has yet to call for the overthrow of China's totalitarian regime.

China's government denies its citizens their God given rights. It is therefore illegitimate. It is the duty of every man and woman who would be free to work towards its dissolution and the subsequent creation of a new government founded upon the principles of individual freedom and public accountability.

Lee

Good job China (1)

wedge603 (1011423) | more than 6 years ago | (#17078110)

It's good to see that China is taking the necessary steps to make sure Wikipedia's information is accurate.

Interesting... (1)

papabear1134 (1034598) | more than 6 years ago | (#17078426)

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