CHINESE GOVERNMENT CENSORS have apparently slightly loosened their iron grip on yet another website, this time, Wikipedia. The online encyclopedia has, until now, been completely blocked in the strict communist regime, but today, AFP is reporting that it has heard from Chinese residents that the site is accessible in some parts of the country.
It seems that the site has been unblocked in a number of major cities including the Chinese capital, Beijing. The move comes two days after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) told Beijing, in no uncertain terms, that it had better make sure the Internet was open and uncensored for the entire duration of the Olympic games this summer.
Censorship of the Internet is commonplace in China, with the government regularly blocking content considered either politically subversive or pornographic. These include all manner of human rights web sites and the ramblings and rumourmongerings posted daily on Mad Mike Mageek’s bog. China also denies anonymity to Internet café users, who are forced to present their identification before being allowed to log on to the Net.
The news of Wikipedia’s new found Chinese freedom comes on the same day that one of China’s most prominent dissidents, Hu Jia, lost his for three and a half years, after being found guilty of "subversion of state power". This “subversion” basically consists of just six articles the freedom blogger posed on the Internet.
AFP reports that Hu Jia’s Wikipedia page is accessible in China, pointing to the possibility that the Chinese censorship lackeys really have unblocked the whole site, and not just sections of it as they often do. Last month, the English version of the BBC news website and Google’s Blogspot were freed from their Chinese censorship shackles.
Wikipedia’s English version appeared to be totally unblocked, and AFP reported that a Chinese Internet user in Chengdu told them that he was now able to access the Chinese version as well. µ