Wikipedia joins a long list of websites which are being blocked in China.
Updated: Dec 2, 2022
Wikipedia joins a very long list of websites which are already blocked in China. The totalitarian Communist party of China had previously banned the Chinese language version of the site, but the block has now been expanded. The block comes ahead of the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown and is linked to the Communist party fanatical suppression of any mentioning of what happened in Tiananmen square in 1989. China typically blocks access to specific web pages referencing the tragedy, but it can't do that on Wikipedia after the site switched to HTTPS and made it effectively impossible for censors to see the individual pages people are viewing. A blanket ban would be the only way to prevent people from reading content, especially since translation is readily available. Wikimedia said it had received "no notice" of the move. In a statement, the foundation said: "In late April, the Wikimedia Foundation determined that Wikipedia was no longer accessible in China. After closely analysing our internal traffic reports, we can confirm that Wikipedia is currently blocked across all language versions." The only other country to fully block Wikipedia is Turkey, since 2017.
China operates one of the world's most sophisticated online censorship mechanisms, known as the Great Firewall. Censors keep a grip on what can be published online, particularly content seen as potentially undermining the ruling Communist Party. The Great Firewall is a vast internet surveillance and content-control system that prevents people in China from accessing certain websites and pages. It blocks content that’s critical of the Chinese government or that covers controversial political events, such as the Tiananmen Square protest or spiritual movements such as Falun Gong. Some 171 out of the world’s 1,000 top websites are blocked, including Google, Facebook and Twitter, according to censorship monitor Greatfire.org. In order to access these sites, Chinese internet users can use VPN services, although the government has been cracking down on these services and the people who use them for several years now.
China has the largest internet users in the world, but ironically they can't use the internet, only the Chinese state version of it.
The Chinese central government has two main ways of controlling what its citizens see on the web: the Great Firewall, as it is called by foreigners, which is a system of limiting access to foreign websites which started in the late 1990s, and the Golden Shield, a system for domestic surveillance set up in 1998 by the Ministry of Public Security. In all there are thought to be around 100,000 people, employed both by the state and by private companies, policing China's internet around the clock. Around 700m+ Chinese Internet users, the largest number of internet users in the world, can't access the internet including blocked sites such as Facebook, YouTube, Wikipedia, Twitter and many others.