China is planning an ambitious online resource, competing with Wikipedia. The digital version of the encyclopedia of the Chinese will, in fact, the first online book of countries “about everything.”
But activists, fighting for freedom of speech, say that the new digital project will probably be to distort or overlook certain issues for political purposes.
This is the third edition of the Chinese encyclopedia. It employs 20 thousand scientists from higher educational institutions of the country, reports South China Morning Post.
It is expected that this version will be twice more than the encyclopedia Britannica. It will include more than 30 thousand texts each of length approximately 1,000 words. The encyclopedia will be released in 2018.
But unlike the Wikipedia, open for editing the masses of the Chinese encyclopedia is created specially appointed scientists.
This is problematic, consider criticism.
“Wikipedia welcomes all users to ensure they are challenged and edited the information for each record,” Mashable said Patrick POON, a Chinese researcher from Amnesty International.
He noted that in China only selected researchers can edit articles that addresses the issue of trust.
“The creation of this relatively closed encyclopedia, in addition to the Great firewall even more deprives the Chinese people of freedom of access to information,” he says.
Creating a parallel digital world
Wikipedia is usually available through the firewall of China, blocking sites that the government considered undesirable. But articles related to political issues such as the Dalai Lama or the XI Jinping, blocked.
“This is an example of the attempts of the Chinese authorities to give their version of events, particularly those occurring in contemporary China,” says POON, who lives in Hong Kong.
The country has a long history of manipulation of information to guide public opinion in the desired direction the authorities, echoes Maya Wang, a researcher from China working in Hong Kong with Human Rights Watch.
“The creation of an online encyclopedia is consistent with the practice of the Chinese government on creating a parallel digital world in which censorship of information and the platforms are allowed to flourish, and their free counterparts is prohibited,” said Wang.
Scientists working on a new resource, consider it as a tool.
“Chinese encyclopedia is Great wall of China, said Yang Muju, its editor in chief, at a meeting of leading scientists in the Chinese Academy of Sciences in April. Is a tool for the General reader, which will help him to learn every day. This will have a profound impact.”
“Circumstances forced China to write your own encyclopedia. To overtake other, we need to understand the complexity of its preparation,” he added.
Other scholars of the drafting group want the emphasis on the needs of the XXI century.
“I think the encyclopedia should be structured, which emphasizes globalization, democracy and diversity, writes US historian Juan Annian invited to work on the encyclopedia. We must respect history and the future.”